The role of creativity in opportunity search and business idea creation

Jarna Heinonen (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Ulla Hytti (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Pekka Stenholm (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 22 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the relationships between student creativity, various opportunity search strategies, and the viability of business ideas developed during an entrepreneurship education module.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper sets out hypotheses on the associations between individual creativity, opportunity search strategies and the viability of business ideas generated. A group of 117 students provided the sample data by participating in pre‐programme and post‐programme surveys. Explorative factor analysis was employed to examine latent variables, and factor structures were confirmed by confirmatory factor analysis. Structural equation modelling was then used to test the resulting hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that creativity is not directly associated with the viability of the business idea. Creativity does, however, strengthen the creative opportunity search strategies and the use of opportunity identification strategies based on knowledge acquisition. Accordingly, the influence of creativity on the viability of the business idea is fully mediated by those opportunity search strategies that are creative and based on knowledge acquisition. They both have a positive effect on the perceived viability of the business idea.

Research limitations/implications

The study illustrates the co‐existence of art and science in the process of recognising entrepreneurial opportunity, which involves individual action and reflection in order for a viable business idea to be developed.

Practical implications

Although creativity is perceived as a valuable element of the generation of business ideas, it has to be accompanied by opportunity search activities in order to generate viable business ideas. The findings emphasise the role of creative behaviour in devising the business idea and also of incorporating creative thinking into business planning.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the theoretical understanding of how individual creativity affects the viability of business ideas as well as the way in which students search for business opportunities.

Keywords

Citation

Heinonen, J., Hytti, U. and Stenholm, P. (2011), "The role of creativity in opportunity search and business idea creation", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 8/9, pp. 659-672. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911111185008

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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