Images of Entrepreneurship: Using Drawing to Explore Entrepreneurial Experience

Jean Clarke, Robin Holt

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Entrepreneurship is a generative and transformative process of altering convention where personal/social history, assets, technologies, and trading activity are gathered in organizational form. How entrepreneurs frame this process, and are, in turn, organised by this process, constitutes the entrepreneurial experience. Typically this framing has been researched using narrative methods: how entrepreneurs tell their stories. In this paper we develop an emerging branch of inquiry challenging a sole focus on linguistic narrative in favour of accessing the experience of entrepreneurs by asking them to draw an image of their venture using pencils and paper. Drawing has long been recognised in other social science disciplines as an empirical method for eliciting in-depth and latent information about complex or difficult experiences. In this paper we show some indicative drawings created by entrepreneurs, accompanied by their verbal explanations of what these drawings represent for them, and we highlight how the process was a generative exercise for the entrepreneurs. We focus on two aspects of drawing, which we refer to as “beginnings”, and “traces”, that we feel are particularly relevant to why this medium is valuable for exploring the experience of entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00129
JournalJournal of Business Venturing Insights
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 30. May 2019


  • Entrepreneurial experience
  • Narratives
  • Drawing
  • Drawing methodology
  • Images

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