Network analysis of an entrepreneur ecosystem — PhD in progress

An update on the PhD

Coding and theory

  • First, I code who is doing what to who. This is defined as the role and actor that is doing the acting and the role and actor being acted upon. For example, local government (role) of Rockhampton Regional Council (actor) acts on the innovation hub (role) of Rockhampton Smart Hub (actor);
  • Second, I code the nature of the action being described. This is grouped in one of five ways: 1) How they define themselves or others ; 2) How they describe a benefit or past success about the actor or relationship; 3) How they highlight a barrier to the actor or relationship; 4) How they describe a vision of the best possible future related to the actor; or 5) How they outline a strategy that will achieve the vision; and
  • Third, the function being performed as an open description and of the function being performed, for example talent, access to capital, culture, personal support, access to external markets, etc.
  • Actor Network Theory (ACT): A challenge with ecosystem models is that they can put people into a box, missing emerging roles and functions in a rapidly changing innovation system. Actor Network Theory treats everything as an “actor” that defines his/her/its role within the context of the entrepreneur ecosystem). I start with asking “Who are you and what do you do?” and hear and observe how they describe themselves and see what groupings may occur. This also includes capturing non-human actors such as people acting against a geographic region or using a piece of infrastructure or technology asset.
  • Critical realism: Each person’s narrative is reality and true for them. We assume truth and unconditional positive regard, and consider why two truths differ rather than determining why one view is right or another view is wrong. We then critically review each truth against the relative truths of other interviews, previous academic literature, case studies, theories, organisational operational data, and data from economic and regional statistics and metrics.
  • Appreciative Inquiry: Finally, the interviews are conducted using a strengths-based framework called Appreciative Inquiry. First, the strengths and past successes are identified. Second, the best possible future or vision is captured from a perspective of it already having occurred. Third, we discuss strategies that happened to make the vision reality. Finally, we identify the individual’s role in that strategy. Combined, the responses create a collective view of the entrepreneur ecosystem.

The network

  • Innovation hubs act as an important nexus and boundary spanner in a region.
  • Entrepreneurs are always the central focus.
  • The ecosystem leader is critical to building capability.
  • The startup ecosystem and geographic region play an important role as a connection to place.
  • Local governments are important in non-metro regions, and other major actors of universities and large corporates are critical for functions such as legitimacy and market access.
  • There is a unique role for advocacy and support entities, which are emerging as a key function in the ecosystem.

Work in progress

  • How does diversity impact entrepreneur support?
  • What are effective strategies for local government?
  • How do universities connect to regional innovation programs?
  • Where are the crossovers and gaps in entrepreneur support?
  • What are the most important factors when starting an entrepreneur ecosystem?




American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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Chad Renando

Chad Renando

American & Australian, playing in the cross-section of people, business and digital, with a passion for discovering how we all tick

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