An opportunity generally has three central characteristics. There is the potential for economic value, there is a sense of novelty or newness, and there is a perception of desirability. Value is generated with these characteristics by tapping into services, processes, or products that have not been exploited yet in a certain context. There is a school of thought that believes that all opportunities already exist and that they are simply found, but another school of thought sees opportunity as cultivated in a different manner.

Overview: What is opportunity creation?

Opportunity creation comes from taking problems in the present and determining how to use them to create future solutions. The core idea involved is that the entrepreneur is able to develop business creatively that differs from the perceived boundaries of the environment and/or organization.

3 benefits of opportunity creation

There are several benefits to opportunity creation:

1. It encourages creative thinking.

The idea of trying to find an opportunity can seem as exciting or fruitful as looking under rocks. Creating opportunities requires creative thinking, which has been a key factor in some of the most historical innovations in numerous industries.

2. It is great for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Not everyone in business is an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are generally risk-takers, and some in business are averse to this. That being said, entrepreneurs are necessary in business because they are agents of change, and often things need to change in order to move forward. The chance to create opportunities is part of the lifeblood of an entrepreneur.

3. Creation of new markets.

Created opportunities can be described as opportunities where neither supply nor demand existed previously and thereby had to be created. This means that creating opportunities can lead to creating new markets where they were not perceived to exist before.

Why is opportunity creation important to understand?

It is important to understand opportunity creation for the following reasons:

It can more efficiently organize your workforce.

If you understand the way that opportunities are created, you might be able to spot people on your team that are creative enough to help take your business into areas that non-creatives would not come up with. You can then organize your workforce so that those that exhibit this sort of creativity can have room to blossom. The opportunities that are created have little to do with market trends and consumer preferences. What they come from is the ability to act creatively and think in an innovative manner. Being able to see these qualities in certain members of your workplace or even potential new hires can help guide your business into the future.

Environments can feel like there is nothing left to discover.

It can get to the point in an industry that there is nothing new under the sun and that there is nothing left to discover. When it gets to this point, opportunities and markets need to be invented.

Opportunity creation requires a diverse team.

While a sense of entrepreneurship is integral to opportunity creation, the entrepreneur cannot create the opportunity completely on their own. It takes a diverse group of players for a created opportunity to take flight. Having a good understanding of how opportunities happen can help put you in the right place at the right time to be a member of the team involved in a newly created opportunity.

An industry example of opportunity creation

In the 70s, Gary Dahl was a freelance advertising copywriter. He got the idea of selling pet rocks that were sold in cardboard boxes that looked like the kinds of carriers that you would take a dog or cat to the veterinarian in. He was able to find a couple of investors to put money into the idea. None of them, of course, had any idea if these would actually sell, as there was nothing on the market to compare them to. Dahl made his debut of the pet rock at a gift show in San Francisco and waited to see if there was a reaction. The reaction was quick, he took on several corporate customers, and the pet rock was soon in department stores all around the country. After the success, Dahl and his investors were seen as having created an opportunity.

3 best practices when thinking about opportunity creation

Here are a few practices to keep in mind when it comes to opportunity creation:

1. Encourage communication

The creation of opportunities can be seen as a phenomenon that comes from the interaction between entrepreneurs and other people in a daily life ecosystem. Having open communication in your workplace can cultivate an environment that breeds the creation of opportunities.

2. Created opportunity requires social agreement for success

A created opportunity only comes into being when enacted upon. It then requires social agreement for that enactment to be sustainable.

3. The opportunity creation can often not be seen at the beginning

Since it often requires the formation of new markets, being able to view an opportunity as having been created may not be possible until the end of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about opportunity creation

What is the difference between opportunity creation and opportunity discovery?

You can create opportunities as well as find them. Discovery theory maintains that opportunities exist independently of entrepreneurs and are merely “discovered,” while the creation theory dictates that opportunities are “created” through individual action.

What are the entrepreneurial actions that are most important for opportunity creation?

There are seven entrepreneurial actions that are generally seen as the most vital for opportunity creation. These are leadership, decision making, human resource management, strategy, financing, marketing, and sustainable competitive advantage.

What does evolutionary realism have to do with opportunity creation?

Evolutionary realism is seen as the direct epicenter at the root of studies on the opportunity creation process.

Opportunity creation in the workplace

In business, it can feel like there is nothing left to discover in order to move things forward. With the right team that fosters a creative spirit, opportunities can be created.

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