La innovación y la creación de nuevos emprendimientos

Supervised by:
  1. Andrés Iborra García Director

Defence university: Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

Fecha de defensa: 26 September 2022

  1. Arturo de la Escalera Hueso Chair
  2. Diego Alonso Cáceres Secretary
  3. Rafael Goldszmidt Committee member

Type: Thesis


Resumen de la tesis: Creating the "new" to solve problems is an uncertain feat. Still, humans have innovated and applied Ingenium for millennia, eventually creating new tools, bridges, and ventures, despite a lack of resources or clarity of objectives. In this sense, the problem of information asymmetry (how the future will deploy) and resource asymmetry (what means will be available) motivated this thesis. In particular, the problem of how entrepreneurs create new ventures and innovate under uncertainty and without clear initial goals. This thesis aims to contribute to understanding innovation and the creation of new ventures using a non-predictive logic (effectuation) and agile methods (used by startup accelerators) as guiding principles of this discussion. Effectuation is a common logic applied by expert entrepreneurs to solve the typical problems of starting new ventures and innovating. It is a non-predictive control heuristics entrepreneurs operationalize through five principles of effectual action while addressing the uncertainties and contingencies in creating new products, services or markets: 1) Bird-in-hand principle: they build a new venture not necessarily with a goal in mind, but starting with their own means and resources (who they are, what they know, who they know), 2) Affordable loss principle: they do not place large bets with the expectation of high returns, but rather assess opportunities based on acceptable downsides, 3) Crazy quilt principle: they reduce uncertainty by forming partnerships and gaining initial commitments early in their new ventures, 4) Lemonade principle: they leverage contingencies instead of rejecting them, remaining flexible and adapting their projects as required, 5) Pilot in the plane principle: they focus on controlling whatever is controllable in their environment, understanding that the future is not found or predicted, but it is made through human action. Accelerators and agile methods activate the effectual principles through tools and prescriptions that systematically reduce investments while creating a new venture. Accelerators extensively promote "agile" methods (e.g., customer development model, design sprints, rapid innovation cycle) to build prototypes and early versions of products and services while discovering the initial customers and partners. Additionally, it reduces the risk for investors across all startup growth phases by validating the venture idea and clarifying what resources will be required. In this sense, this thesis examined whether and to what extent entrepreneurs build new ventures using effectuation and agile methods by creating three actual innovations with real-world applications. The three cases were proofs of concept implemented in real-world contexts with the explicit goal of launching Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) but under uncertainty and with ambiguity of objectives about its functionality. The three applications were technological solutions to problems of traffic congestion, pandemics, and trust in digital transactions. Application 1, "Lemur," is an edge application for traffic control; application 2, "Dolphin," an Internet of Things (IoT)-based geolocation system applied for pandemic control and application 3, "Crypto Degrees," a blockchain-based solution to verify university degrees. In all stages of each application development, the teams involved approached it in an entrepreneurial/effectual way, facing uncertainties and engaging in actions to engage with multiple stakeholders while leveraging contingencies. After implementing the three solutions and analyzing their results and impact, the three cases validated the theoretical predictions that by applying effectual principles in an agile form, new ventures can be created in an entrepreneurial, innovative way. Keywords: Innovation, Effectuation, Entrepreneurship, IoT, Blockchain, Intelligent Systems, Engineering