The Socio-Cognitive Dynamics of Entrepreneurial Ideation

Entrepreneurs need creative ideas to develop innovative new products. We interviewed 32 technology entrepreneurs to generate a grounded theory about how technology entrepreneurs use social behaviors, techniques and cognitive processes to attain, develop, refine, validate and filter (for usefulness) creative ideas for successful new products, processes or services. The results reveal a complex, cyclical and recursive multi-level social process with emphasis on active and social experimentation. Greatest ideational productivity occurs when strong social ties interactively solve problems in an environment of trust – in particular, when “Trusted Partners” exchange and refine ideas through a form of shared cognition. Findings will be of great interest to researchers interested in entrepreneurship, social creativity and management team dynamics. Practitioners will benefit from this new insight into the methodologies and practices of successful entrepreneurs.