Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2018.0285

We combine Herbert Simon’s view of design with the common distinction between reality as discovered or created to develop experimentation and transformation as ideal types of entrepreneurial design. Building on the design tradition’s view of artifacts, we describe how opportunities-as-artifacts iteratively develop at the interface between organized individuals and their environments, where more or less concrete instantiations are used to drive the process forward. By conceptualizing entrepreneurship as artifact-centered design, we provide an alternative to accounts inspired by economic theory, which have proven conceptually problematic and of limited practical use. We conclude by discussing how uncertainty can be defined and managed, the value of design as a conceptual anchor for entrepreneurship studies, avenues for future conceptual and empirical work, and how the design perspective naturally bridges theory and practice.

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