The role of serendipity in (entrepreneurial) innovation

The role of serendipity in (entrepreneurial) innovation

Although a foundational premise of strategic management is causation, seminal contributions to management scholarship have explicitly referred to chance as an explanation for performance differences between individuals and organizations. (Liu & de Rond 2016) A concept that has been introduced to resolve this tension is serendipity which is defined as "the ability to recognize and leverage or create value from unexpected information" (Napier & Hoang Vuong 2013). The reason why it has been overlooked so far can be explained by its intrinsic paradox: "While being perceived as valuable, it is at the same time elusive, unpredictable and – at least at first sight – not subject to either the understanding or the resultant control that would enable it to be 'used' as a conscious information-seeking strategy." (Foster & Ford 2003)

Research aim:
The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the role of serendipity in individual innovation processes.

Your task is to conduct qualitative (narrative) interviews with innovators about the role serendipity has played in their innovative endeavour - these innovators can theoretically be framed from different angles: (social) entrepreneurship, user innovation, frugal innovation etc.


  • Above-average course achievement
  • Advanced skills in English (written and spoken)
  • Strong dedication and autonomy

as from now (or upon request)

Please make yourself familiar with the background literature as listed below and send your request including academic record and CV by mail to:

Literature (as a starting point):
Dew [2009]
Napier & Hoang Vuong [2013]
Liu & de Rond [2016]