When Entrepreneurs Meet: The Collective Governance of New Ideas challenges our understanding of how entrepreneurs crystallize opportunities surrounding new technologies. While innovation is the fundamental driver of growth and prosperity, how the earliest stages of entrepreneurship are governed remains elusive. This book creates a new, institutional approach to understanding entrepreneurship before emphasizing how entrepreneurs create governance structures to coordinate new knowledge resources.
Rather than the conventional view that entrepreneurship happens inside firms, this unique transaction-cost economics analysis of entrepreneurship suggests it might begin earlier in hybrid, polycentric self-governance structures, including the innovation commons. Allen explores and analyses various examples of these structures, including hackerspaces and the institutions coalescing around the development of the blockchain economy, along with the dynamics of how those institutions might collapse into firms. This new understanding of the entrepreneurial governance problem is also connected to contemporary questions about the purpose, scope, and application of innovation policy.
Published in Research Policy (with Chris Berg, Brendan Markey-Towler, Mikayla Novak and Jason Potts)
Abstract: For the past century economists have proposed a suite of theories relating to industrial dynamics, technological change and innovation. There has been an implication in these models that the institutional environment is stable. However, a new class of institutional technologies — most notably blockchain technology — lower the cost of institutional entrepreneurship along these margins, propelling a process of institutional evolution. This presents a new type of innovation process, applicable to the formation and development of institutions for economic governance and coordination. This paper develops a replicator dynamic model of institutional innovation and proposes some implications of this innovation for innovation policy. Given the influence of public policies on transaction costs and associated institutional choices, it is indicated that policy settings conductive to the adoption and use of blockchain technology would elicit entrepreneurial experiments in institutional forms harnessing new coordinative possibilities in economic exchange. Conceptualisation of blockchain-related public policy an innovation policy in its own right has significant implications for the operation and understanding of open innovation systems in a globalised context.