This was an eventful day. I had a full, full schedule. I’d like to thank the Academy (always wanted to say that) for putting together an excellent program. I’ve compiled some quick notes on the events I attended. As you read this keep in mind that these are only my views. The people that worked hard to put these programs together no doubt know far, far, more about their topics than I do. I probably missed the point on many, or even all, of these sessions. Any errors of understanding are mine.
8:00 Hogwarts School of Leadership: Two engaging ladies from UAB (University of Alabama, Birmingham) explained how they run an upper level leadership course using the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as an extended example to motivate participation and help students understand the concepts. Their class sounds amazing. My take aways were some examples of running a flipped classroom, some specific types of exercises that I can work into my classes to encourage that out of class work is completed, and most importantly, a new to me take on running teams in the classroom. They suggest larger teams than I’m used to using, and keeping the same teams all semester. I can see their points, but I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to doing that. I will give it some thought though.
9:45 Writing Better Theory: I showed up to a standing room only panel session. The line to get in was out the door and past. Security closed the door and ran us off, citing fire code concerns. I was really looking forward to that session. I asked if I could just put my pocket recorder in the room and pick it up later but they were unaccommodating.
12:00 The Future of Entrepreneurial Intentions Research: It was good to hear and be part of this type of conversation again. I have missed the theoretical world. I’m not sure if there’s a place for me in intentions research, but we’ll see. The people putting on the PDW think that they should kill the theory of planned behavior, and they made a good case. Their argument was that the world is complex, and TPB does not adequately explain or predict, from an empirical standpoint. They also discussed the iterative nature of the relationship between attitudes and intentions. I think most people agree that feedback loops are far more prevalent in the models that scholars put forward than they let on. But how on earth, even with panel studies, are you going to model intentions leading to attitudes, reinforcing intentions, reinforcing attitudes, heightening intentions, finally leading to action? It was hard enough writing feedback loops into design theory, where you have a well defined and well documented iterative prototyping process. Is TPB wrong? Certainly. I can tell you for sure that I was in business the first time almost before I made any decision, let alone formed an attitude about it. Besides that, I learned a little about a new data analysis technique called fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, or fsQCA for short. It proposed multiple solutions when they are present, I guess. Lastly, there was a long list of topics that need to be studied, the most interesting of which was the idea of collective intentions. We shall see if I find something in this area. They did say that for this research to be really interesting, it should be linked to performance. That made me smile, mostly because I say that about all research.
1:45 Creating a Shared Online Course in Creativity and Innovation: I mean no disrespect, but this PDW felt like 50% Why won’t you join our teaching collaborative, and 50% Please like my Facebook Page. That’s harsh, and I honestly got a lot more out of it than it sounds like. I did find out that people have similar problems and techniques for teaching C&I. The people hosting the PDW also have a lot of video content, some of it is even Min Basadur, who’s work makes up about half of my C&I class at South. It will be nice to get access to those videos and use them as outside assignments. It sounded like they have a bunch of course modules that could be plug and play, and are full of subject matter experts. I look forward to getting to know them better, and participating in the community they’re trying to create.
4:00 Fostering innovation in entrepreneurial ecosystem research: This one was long, and I was tired. Great stuff though, and I think I have a paper idea out of it. The panel discussion had three debates.
- Constructs, metaphors, and analogies — there was conversation for and against using the the ‘ecosystem’ concept. Points were made on both sides. I took from this the same thing that I took from my year-long conversation about what entrepreneurship was. It’s like Jim Fiet said to us, just define it and move on. The definition may be different in the next paper. As long as your work is internally consistent, you’ve done your job. (I’m paraphrasing. I’m sure what he said was shorter, and better phrased, but that was the idea.)
- Methodological Rigor — it’s lacking. Duh. Not to go off on a Fiet tangent with this post, but great men discuss ideas, lesser men criticize methods. Other issues discussed were what’s the proper unit of analysis, what’s the DV (hint, I think it’s performance…so either businesses started, cash taken in and spent, or maybe even Per Davidsson’s favorite variable, job creation. I like that one.), and can you generalize your findings and how. All great questions. Oh yeah, and what are the boundaries of the ecosystem, and what constructs are we examining.
- Theoretical Foundations — Maybe I was tired, and I’ll go back and listen to the recording of this later, but I could barely understand what was being said. It wasn’t accents or jargon, I just wasn’t tracking too well I think. They did give a nice list of theoretical lenses from which to examine ecosystems. I came up with a very doable paper idea (I think) just from the list. I think I can get data from snowball sampling smaller market ecosystems, then use standard SNA analysis to spit out potential variables like cohesiveness, and such, then perhaps set jobs created or dollars funneled to businesses as a DV and see what pops out.
Finally, this session introduced me to a potential new tool, Kahoot.IT, a instant feedback survey-game website. This might increase student engagement a bit.
6:00 Exhibit Hall Opening Reception: Went for 5 minutes. Didn’t stay, even though there were people there and companies I wished to talk to. One free drink was not worth fighting that crowd. So I had a nice dinner, retired to my room to work on other stuff, and now I’m putting this together before bed.