Must one be an innovator to be an entrepreneur? I have always thought so, and Drucker, who asserted that the entrepreneur is an innovator, bolsters my belief. This being said, I recently read “Worthless, Impossible and Stupid” by Daniel Isenberg, in which he makes a case for the two being entirely separate qualities and functions.
I’ve always taught entrepreneurship with extensive emphasis on innovation, spending at least 25% of class time on idea generation and formation. I plan to continue to do so, perhaps because I continue to believe that the arts desperately need innovators, but I feel I must also come to peace eventually with the opposing opinion (s).
There seem to actually be 3 positions on this topic of innovation v. entrepreneurship. First, of course, is Drucker’s (and others) who believe that the 2 functions are married: perhaps not immutable, but so closely related that they only procreate when together. The second, I believe, is the one that Isenberg asserts, that there are innovators, and there are entrepreneurs, and that the latter are those who identify the potentialities of the innovations, and then skillfully bring them to market. The third, which I have encountered, and which I believe few identify as entrepreneurs are those who open franchises, who duplicate others’ work. I call this last group small businessmen/women.
I recommend the Isenberg book, although like so many books on entrepreneurship, it relies on the author’s personal anecdotes.