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Inside the Entrepreneurial Method by Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, January 5, 2015

Ask Yourself- Can I Use Effectuation Now? 

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

This is part of a series of monthly blog articles from the work that is being done on engaging effectuation (the entrepreneurial method) in the 10 Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurial Colleges in Action Grantees from around the country. We wanted to share this information with the larger community of practice so you too can start integrating the entrepreneurial method in your department, your college, and your community.

The professional problem solving toolkit, relies on a strong causal skill set.  Strategy, budgeting, forecasting, and staffing processes are largely influenced by prediction and planning. 

Where does effectuation fit in?  It’s a complementary logic of non-predictive control.

When is it best applied?  Effectuation is best applied for innovation.  When approaching a new opportunity or problem to solve, as yourself the following questions:

1.     Is your goal uncertain or open-ended?

2.     Is there a lack of historical data available to you?

3.     Are you doing something you’ve never done before?

If your answer to at least two of these is “yes”, then this is a good opportunity to apply effectuation.

How can effectuation be assimilated into a causal environment? 

    1. Fully applied to new processes. 
    2. Integrated within existing causal processes. 

Both of these methods work, and will depend on the specific situation.   

Questions to consider when integrating the effectual mindset into existing processes

1.     What elements of effectuation “fit” best with your existing culture?  Consider incorporating these into existing formats. 

      • If you’re lacking strong planning processes, ask yourself if there are ways that you can apply these heuristics to give shape to processes (or lack thereof)?
      • If you have strong planning processes, can you use these as part of your means? 

2.     Are there opportunities to run effectuation in parallel with planning processes? 

      • Market research, budgeting, and partner engagement are common areas of opportunity

3.     What areas do you have control over in which you can experiment (relative to your affordable loss)?

4.     How can you use storytelling to drive comfort and familiarity with the effectual principles? 

5.     How can you engage stakeholders throughout your college to have them consider possible integration opportunities?  

Effectuation can be applied effectively in a causal environment. 

Integrate it?  Assimilate it?  Share it?  There are many different approaches. 

The best methods for your college are up to you, as the “institutional entrepreneur”, to decide.  

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  NACCE 

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