5 million to research about Innovation theatre

Published: 2022-11-21

Anna Brattström at LUSEM recently received funding from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond of 5 063 000 SEK to research about Innovation theatre in the entrepreneurship industry. Why is this worth studying and what is Anna curious about?  

"I’m just curious to understand what is happening in the entrepreneurial sphere and how that shapes emergent and established organizations," says researcher Anna Brattström when asked about her end goal with her ongoing research.

Congratulations Anna, to the granted funds from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond of 5 063 000 SEK to the research about Innovation theatre in the entrepreneurship industry. 

”Thank you, I’m super happy about the opportunity to do this research project and thankful for the support.”

Why is this worth studying?

”Just like the tourism industry grew in the 1970s by bringing together actors from transportation, hotel, and restaurants, entrepreneurship has become an industry that brings together consultants, authors, inspirational speakers, and event managers who offer their products and services in different ways to wanting entrepreneurs.

We believe that we will better understand some puzzling, current phenomena by understanding the social context for entrepreneurship as an industry – which is different from merely thinking of it as an ecosystem or support system. For example – how come being an entrepreneur is cooler than being a rockstar, given all the hard, non-glamorous work that goes into it and the high failure rates of startups? Why did Helsingborg Stad brand their 2022 city fair as 'Sweden’s largest innovation show'? Why is there such an enormous supply of inspirational breakfast seminars, hackathons, and innovation days? We think part of this is innovation theatre, and part is more substantial, and we are curious to understand the difference.”

What is your research question or questions?

”We ask three overarching questions: 

  1. Who are the core actors in the Swedish entrepreneurship industry in Sweden; what are their activities, and how has this industry developed over time?
  2. How do actors in the entrepreneurship industry understand and construct cultural ideals around entrepreneurship? How do such understandings shape their intentions and actions as they navigate the entrepreneurship industry to create new organizations or new projects in existing organizations?
  3. How has entrepreneurship as a cultural ideal emerged and developed over time? How does this ideal shape the entrepreneurial activities of individuals and organizations, and how is it re-shaped by such activities?

To answer these questions, we will work in two complementary ways. Through in-depth case studies, my field of expertise, and computational text analysis, the expertise of my project colleagues at the Stockholm School of Economics. The text analysis is cool: we plan to work together with the Royal Library and gather a corpus of text that actors in the entrepreneurship industry have communicated over the past 15 years – webpages, reports, etc., and then use natural language processing techniques to understand how entrepreneurial ideals have emerged and developed over time.”

Where will you share your work?

”We hope to do solid research that gets accepted in good research journals. We have done some conceptual work, publishing a critical review of storytelling in entrepreneurship research (Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice) and a book chapter on cultural ideals in the entrepreneurship industry (Springer). We have also written opinion pieces in DN and Esbri. Importantly, we are trying to create a larger research group, collaborating nationally and internationally on this topic. For example, we just got the OK from the journal Small Business Economics to run a special issue on this topic and have set up an editorial board of international scholars with different expertise to do so.”

What is your end goal?

”I find the contemporary storytelling and cultural ideals around entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship fascinating. I’m just curious to understand what is happening in the entrepreneurial sphere and how that shapes emergent and established organizations. At a broader level, I think it is also essential to recognize that quite hefty sums of taxpayers’ money are going into supporting entrepreneurs. I think it makes sense to try to understand how we can make the most out of those investments.”

About Anna Brattström

Anna Brattsröm is Senior lecturer and Associate professor in Entrepreneurship at the Department of Business Administration.


Anna's profile in Lund University Research Portal