UVA Darden Announces the Year of Effectuation to Mark the 20-Year Anniversary of a Global Movement

By Joyce Smaragdis

The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced the “Year of Effectuation,” a year-long series of conferences, competitions, workshops and thought-leadership events that celebrate the 20-year anniversary of effectuation and the community of scholars and practitioners who have since transformed it into a global movement.

Effectuation is a framework of thinking, discovered through scientific research, used by expert entrepreneurs to build successful ventures. This accessible and flexible approach to entrepreneurial logic was uncovered by Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy and gives would-be entrepreneurs easy-to-understand tools to navigate the uncertainty of the venture creation environment. The five principles of the deceptively simple framework are influencing the work of entrepreneurs, academics and incubators across the world.

“In 1997, I set out on a research journey to investigate the question, ‘What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial?’” said Sarasvathy. “The intervening decades have seen the spread of effectuation from research into practice and teaching. Today, I am deeply honored and privileged to work with friends, practitioners and fellow scholars. Together, we are envisioning a future where entrepreneurship is taught to everyone as a means to tackle the world’s greatest challenges and realize its greatest possibilities.”

The Batten Institute’s Year of Effectuation activities include:

  • 16 February
    University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Cup, Discovery Competition, a UVA-wide competition based on the principles of effectuation
  • 6 April 
    Webinar: Co-Create New Futures, for Yourself and for the World: Lessons from Expert Entrepreneurs
  • 1 August
    Conference: From Classroom to Boardroom, Effectuation Theory Meets Practice; Darden School of Business; Keynote: Doug Lebda (EMBA ’14), chairman and CEO of LendingTree
  • Fall 2017
    Workshop: Effectuation in Startup, Corporate and Public Sector Settings; Washington, D.C.

More information on effectuation is available through the website for the Society for Effectual Action, an organization supported by the Batten Institute. The site serves as a central hub for researchers, educators and entrepreneurs and arms them with the tools they need to create ventures or further the concepts of effectuation.

“People who just want a couple of tools in building a venture — they can find something. People who want to teach can find something. People who want to challenge the ideas — any ideas that have to do with entrepreneurship today — they can go back and forth,” said Sarasvathy.

“The beauty of entrepreneurship is everybody in life has to brush up against it,” Sarasvathy said. “We are all going to encounter entrepreneurship, and the issue is to see this as a tool to build a better future for ourselves, whether individually or as a society.”

For more information on Year of Effectuation activities, go to www.batteninstitute.org in the coming weeks. Additional events will be added over the course of the year.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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