The imprinted imagination : an investigation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem’s influence in the new venture ideation process.


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This dissertation takes steps to unpack how the composition of entrepreneurial ecosystems interacts with individual-level attributes to influence the entrepreneur’s ideation process. We introduce a novel taxonomy of ecosystem actors and then theorize how variation in two novel constructs, ecosystem focus and coherence, interact with imaginative abilities and personal traits to drive variation in new venture idea feasibility and originality. A verbal protocol experiment is conducted, capturing 172 ideations by 32 nascent and active entrepreneurs. While statistical support is not found for relationships between focus, coherence, feasibility, and originality, we find qualitative evidence suggesting that ecosystems imprint both in the ideation process and the resulting new venture ideas. Our findings shed light on unresolved theoretical voids, contribute to ongoing discussions about ecosystem diversity, and offer useful insights and tools to both entrepreneurs and ecosystem managers.