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Recently I have learned and taught “Effectuation”: a logic of thinking, discovered through scientific research, used by expert entrepreneurs to build successful ventures. If you’re interested in learning more about Saras Sarasvathy research and what she has baptised Effectuation, you can digg into the great website/community that was put together around the concept.

I’m lucky to work with EM Lyon professor and author Philippe Silberzhan and to be following his MOOC (Massice Open Online Course) on the subject; so while I learn and practice I would love to introduce you to some of the Effectuation principles.

The Bird in Hand Principle

Food from Trader Joe'sLet’s say you’re inviting some friends over for dinner. There are two ways to go about it.

The classic way:

  1. Decide on a menu
  2. Look into the fridge to see what’s already there
  3. Write a shopping list of what’s missing

The effectuation way:

  1. Look into the fridge to see what’s there
  2. Build the menu according to that

Same thing goes with entrepreneurship. You can either try to list all the things you’re missing to get started; or look into what you already have and see what you can do with that.

What do 100% of entrepreneurs have? Let me rephrase that: what do 100% of people have, whatever their gender, age, color or education?

  • You have who you are.
  • You have what you know.
  • You have whom you know.

The story to prove it:

1907, a 23-years-old “cocotte” (kept woman), filled with determination, ambition and energy, named Gabrielle Chanel, find the hats worn by the women in her entourage to be atrociously vulgar.

She bought a number of basic hat forms made of straw or felt. Back at Royallieu, she decorated them minimally, often with little more than a ribbon around the crown, to which she might simply add a large hat pin…

… The shock was the idea, and this those unconventional female visitors to Royallieu were now keen to emulate.

Source: “Coco Chanel”, Lisa Chaney, Viking Penguin, 2011