Keith van der Heijden’s Concept of the Business Idea: Introduction of an useful Tool for Strategic Entrepreneurship Strategic entrepreneurship is the synthesis of strategic planning – mainly the creation of (sustainable) competitive advantage – and entrepreneurship, in particular its element of opportunity seeking. In the words of Hitt et al. (2002) “strategic entrepreneurship facilitates firms’ efforts to identify the best opportunities (…) and then to exploit them with the discipline of a strategic business plan. The goal of strategic entrepreneurship is to continuously create competitive advantages that lead to maximum wealth creation.” According to Seifert et al (2008) opportunities arise from unexpected occurrences, incongruities within an industry, process needs, industry and market changes, demographic changes, changes in perception as well as the emergence of new knowledge; incidents which all involve a certain degree of uncertainty. A common way to deal with uncertainty in risk management is scenario planning, which is then again the origin of van der Heijden’s concept of the business idea.
This concept is a general, higher-level representation of the whole business than the business model, which mostly describes the interface between the business and its customers. It is the core of a company’s business plan or success formula; one could say the company DNA. According to van der Heijden (1996) “four elements need to be specified in order to define a complete Business Idea: the societal/customer value created, the nature of the competitive advantage exploited, the distinctive competencies which, in their mutually reinforcing interaction, create competitive advantage. Then, these three elements must be configured into the fourth element, a positive feedback loop, in which resources generated drive growth. Due to its systemic nature a business idea is best represented as an influence diagram. Figure 8 shows this in its generic form, containing the...
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