Approaches in Technology Entrepreneurship: Dilemmas and Choices – Bricolage Versus Breakthrough

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Approaches in Technology Entrepreneurship:
Dilemmas and Choices –
Bricolage Versus Breakthrough

Zhangjin Chen
Student ID: 8450274

Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship
Course Unite Code: BMAN61001
The University of Manchester

December 2012

CONTENTS

1.0 Introduction --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 2.0 Bricolage versus Breakthrough----------------------------------------------------------- 2 2.1 Starting Position at Different Levels----------------------------------------=---------3 2.2 Wind Turbines: A Mirror to the Approaches------------------------------------------3 3.0 Bricolage: An Effective Approach-------------------------------------------------------- 4 3.1 Path Creation------------------------------------------------------------------------------4 3.2 Natoora: A Successful Path Creator----------------------------------------------------5 3.3 A Cure to Resource Constraints --------------------------------------------------------5 3.4 Grayson Hill Farms: A Typical "Bricoleur"-------------------------------------------6 4.0 Breakthrough: A Double-edged Sword---------------------------------------------------6 4.1 Segway: A Loser in Breakthrough-----------------------------------------------------7 4.2 Core of Entrepreneurship---------------------------------------------------------------8 5.0 Conclusion-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------8 References --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10

1. Introduction

Similar to the development of modern wind turbines, a significant number of the greatest inventions or innovations in the last few decades are "not based on any new dramatic inventions or recent scientific discoveries" (Garud and Karnoe, 2003, p. 282) as well. Among the typical examples are digital cameras, where innovators have spent over 30 years making incremental improvements to technology, and smart phones like the iPhone, which combines transdisciplinary technologies including the digital camera, mp3, Internet, etc. The successes of these inventions, accompanied by failures, have been the most persuasive evidence for today's technological entrepreneurship approach study.

With an attempt to analyse which approaches should entrepreneurs adopt in specific conditions, this essay looks at a series of past successful and unsuccessful cases in technological entrepreneurship. It starts by recapping the main idea of "bricolage versus breakthrough", which was developed by Garud and Karnoe in 2003. Through a thorough comparison of the approaches adopted by Denmark and the US in their development of wind turbines, the essay then goes deeper to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. To extend the idea, the author quotes other cases to demonstrate the effectiveness of the bricolage approach in path creation and resource management, as well as the risky nature of breakthrough. The essay concludes that bricolage and breakthrough are both valuable approaches that have their own advantages and limitations, depending on what stage and condition the entrepreneurship is in.

2. Bricolage versus Breakthrough

Bricolage and breakthrough have been interpreted from different theoretical perspectives. Early study of bricolage may date back to 1967 when Lévi-Strauss interpreted it from a cultural anthropology perspective as the re-construction and integration of elements at hand, and the creation of new paths (Lévi-Strauss, 1967); recent research from a managerial perspective described it as an incremental process within which entrepreneurs must try to shorten the interval between plan and implementation (Baker, et al., 2003). On the other hand, breakthrough has been proved in some studies (Krichoff, 1991; Tushman and Anderson, 1986) to be vital in technological entrepreneurship as well. By...
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