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4.0 out of 5 stars Effectuation is not just for Entrepreneurs ..., 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Corporate Effectuation (Paperback)
and Thomas Blekman explains how and why!
I've read and used the Sarasvathy et al materials in support of university students and entrepreneurship training, but this book opens up the expert entrepreneurs toolkit to the corporate world. Powerful stuff!
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4.0 out of 5 stars five habits of highly effective entrepreneurs, 27 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Corporate Effectuation (Paperback)
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but my only problem with this book is its title - I disliked the word "effectuation" so much that I refused to read it for some time, even though I'd been given a copy by Thomas Blekman himself when he was acting as a very helpful mentor at the February 2012 London Lean Startup Machine.

When I finally read it, I was intrigued and impressed. Blekman builds on work by Saras D. Saravthy, which might be summarised as "five habits of highly effective entrepreneurs", and applies these to corporate management. Used as a system, these habits comprise a reactive and adaptive approach to getting things done which he contrasts with what he calls the causal approach of corporate projects driven by big plans. I'm not too sure about "the causal approach" as nomenclature, either, but mentally translating it into "waterfall management" worked well for me, and I found the contrast persuasive and the five principles of effectuation themselves to be empowering and inspiring.

The five principles he starts with are

- Bird in hand: start with what you have, asking yourself questions like "Who am I?" (What are my characteristics and preferences?), "What can I do?", and "Who do I know?"

- Affordable loss: by deciding up-front what you can afford to lose on a project you create room for light-weight experimentation as opposed to a possibly costly, premature commitment to success

- Crazy quilt: seeking alliances with other internal and external players in your value network

- Lemonade: opportunistically turning setbacks into openings

- Pilot in the plane: using the other four principles to make things happen

Blekman contrasts this approach with top-down management as a method of making large changes, or optimising "business as usual" for smaller refinements, and makes a compelling case that the effectuation approach is more suitable for times of rapid change and high uncertainty, for resisting rapid commoditisation, and for innovation in general. He then supports this with a series of case studies by his co-authors, which form the second half of the book.

I found the book both helpful and energising, and I recommend it to would-be entrepreneurs as well as to managers.
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Corporate Effectuation
Corporate Effectuation by Thomas Blekman (Paperback - 6 Sep 2011)
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