Entrepreneurship is Art & Science

Pankaj Thakar
January 18, 2021

Peter Drucker in his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship said “Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice. It is a knowledge base... but as in all practices, medicine, for instance, or engineering, knowledge in entrepreneurship is a means to an end”. Later in 2013 Bill Aulet, Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship said While each new startup is unique in many ways, the process for starting them can be accelerated through a rigorous framework that also allows for individuality and variability in the outcome”. However, after practicing entrepreneurship for over two decades, I have come to more evolve conclusion on entrepreneurship as “Entrepreneurship is both Art and Science as the Entrepreneur’s ability to create something new is Art and the process followed is the Science!” Let me try and expand my statement.

An entrepreneur is a person that “pursues an opportunity beyond resource controlled” and being a serial entrepreneur, I can vouch that it is a tall order. An entrepreneur goes out in the world and try and solve some real problem. Unlike a big organization or a company, an entrepreneur has no or limited resources to solve those problem at a scale, but entrepreneurs believe in their passion, vision and their courage to solve it. However, it also needs experience and execution skills to do it, but lack of it won’t stop them as entrepreneurs believe in themselves and fact they are attempting to do it means a lot to them. An entrepreneur is on a journey to create something that has never seen, heard or even thought of! Their solution is the art and the entrepreneur in them is the artist! There are certain definite Qualities that drive the Entrepreneurial Behavior-The Art, as these qualities paly major role in success of an Entrepreneur-The Artist! In some individuals, these qualities exist from birth and some can acquire them like one can learn the art in an art school.

Entrepreneurial Qualities : The Art

Every successful entrepreneur has either all of most of the above Qualities and they, in fact thrive on them. One can learn from the lives of the very successful entrepreneurs that supports the stated behavior. All these qualities and behavior is also seen in almost all successful artist. Hence it is my belief that all entrepreneurs are artist in their own way and their behavior is their art!

Now like any artist, entrepreneur need to learn & practice their art! Learning and practicing the entrepreneurial art is a well-defined process by now and it can be learned by anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. This ‘process’ is what can be defined as ‘science’ as it teaches one how to systematically build a successful startup. This science has definite modules as outlined below and by going thru them sequentially, one can build a venture step by step or in controlled manner. In entrepreneurial world this is called effectual thinking where ‘if one can control the future and one can predict it’. So this is the science that helps one control, predict and build it or fail early. As an entrepreneur, I have been practicing this science subconsciously for 15 years thru hit and trail method. However, when I read Prof Bill Aulet’s book “Disciplined Entrepreneurs”, I realized that I could have learned this science faster!

So, entrepreneurship is a process that begins with the recognition of an entrepreneurial opportunity and is followed by the development of an idea for how to pursue that opportunity, the evaluation of the feasibility of the opportunity, the development of the product or service that will be provided to customers, assembly of human and financial resources, organizational design, and the pursuit of customers.

The process has four distinct phases:

  1. Identification and evaluation of the opportunity
  2. Development of the business plan
  3. Determination of the required resources
  4. Management of the resulting enterprise

Although these phases proceed progressively, none is dealt with in isolation or is totally completed before factors are being dealt with in a sequential phase.

Entrepreneurial Process : The Science

To sum it up, one needs to learn the art and science of entrepreneurship instead of trying via hit and trial. Hence We suggest to the entrepreneurs before they start their venture or incubators and accelerators start their cohort, please learn the ‘Science’ by going thru the ‘process ‘as it shall help build a venture step by step in a sequential manner thus increasing the chances of survival. In nut shell learn the art and science of entrepreneurship before taking a plunge!