The interest in research-based knowledge about entrepreneurship and innovation has increased dramatically the last decades. This interest is to a large extent driven by the key influences of entrepreneurship and innovation as main drivers of job creation, regional development, industrial renewal and long-term economic growth. Adding to this, there is an increasing demand among academic researchers, business leaders and policy makers for a better understanding of how processes of entrepreneurship and innovation are interconnected at various levels in society.
The platform innovation and entrepreneurship focuses on linking together the two areas of entrepreneurship and innovation. Despite common roots in Schumpeter and some common points of interest in innovation management and innovative new companies, the two subjects have, over time, evolved as relatively autonomous fields of research. Platform research aims to bridge this gap and create a closer link between the two areas of entrepreneurship and innovation studies.
Few new ventures are very innovative, and not all inventions create opportunities for commercial success. Despite of this, there are many obvious connections between entrepreneurship and innovation, both of which are strongly linked to economic growth and renewal; there is also is an overlap between the concepts and the distinction between them is unclear. Entrepreneurial experimentation is a system function in technological innovation systems that includes the creation, selection and scaling-up processes of new technologies and innovations within the system.
To increase the understanding of the role of entrepreneurship in the innovation processes the focus of our research is on linking innovation and entrepreneurship, including studies of ‘entrepreneurial experimentation’. Sustainable economic development and growth is, to a significant extent, a matter of experimentation to develop new sources of economic value creation, i.e. innovation. Innovative and entrepreneurial experiments continuously lead to new combinations and mutations of business ideas, technologies and organizational solutions in the experimentally organized economy, EOE. ‘Entrepreneurial experimentation’ increases technological and market experimentation, as well as policy experimentation within the economic system. Without experimentation any system – technological and/or regional - will stagnate.
An increased understanding of the creation, selection and scaling-up processes at different levels is important in order to better understand the function of entrepreneurial experimentation in an experimentally organized economy. Such an understanding is essential for addressing complex questions like, for example:
- What in the Swedish system makes the entrepreneurial experimentation look like it does? What explains the different patterns? How can it be improved?”
- How does the current institutional setting and industrial conditions affect the experimentally organised economy?
- How does the interaction between established and new companies affect creation and selection and scaling-up processes? The role of symbiosis? Barriers, and reinforcing factors?
- What is the role of innovative new ventures in an EOE?
- How does entrepreneurial experimentation contribute to long-term renewal and the establishment of new industrial sectors (creation, selection and scaling-up processes) in different kinds of sectoral, technological and/or regional (innovation) systems?
- What can policy learn to make entrepreneurial experimentation more effective?