About ‘Planned Luck’ For June 26, 2020

Planned Luck: How Incubators Can Facilitate Serendipity for Nascent Entrepreneurs Through Fostering Network Embeddedness


Incubators often play an important role in facilitating networks for entrepreneurs. However, nascent entrepreneurs typically face high uncertainty and goal ambiguity, and which ties could provide the resources needed for achieving the respective goal is often unknown in advance. How do incubators facilitate entrepreneurs’ network embeddedness in the context of such uncertainty? Using an explorative case-study approach, we studied an incubator in Kenya, an extreme setting from an uncertainty perspective. Our findings show how in high-uncertainty contexts, a social structure that allows for flexibility can provide the conditions under which unexpected discoveries are enabled, facilitating opportunity-inducing networks.

Questions for Twitter

The following questions have been prepared by our moderator for this event, Sanda Erdelez:

  1. Your involvement with the T-Hub case study location in Kenya started in 2010 and the study itself was conducted from 2014-2018. In the paper you say that the study started as an observation of an entrepreneurial incubator in an emerging context and not as a study on social embeddedness. At what point did serendipity emerge as a topic? What were some examples?
  2. One of your interview participants stated “This place has been all about serendipity.” To what extent did your respondents specifically refer to serendipity as a concept they experienced, compared to using terms such as unexpected and opportunistic? Is there a term for serendipity in Swahili?
  3. Your study focused on entrepreneurship in an emerging context and identified that legitimizing serendipity is an element of “cultivating reframing” as a social process. To what extent is this element unique to emerging environments? How likely is that it may be also present in more established environments?
  4. As a follow up on #4 – you said that  “potential serendipity can go unnoticed if it occurs in environments that do not embrace it” (p. 22). What should be the best initial step for an environment that doesn’t embrace serendipity to start embracing it?

Citation & Links:

Busch, C., & Barkema, H. (2020). Planned Luck: How Incubators Can Facilitate Serendipity for Nascent Entrepreneurs Through Fostering Network Embeddedness. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1042258720915798

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