Research Summary

Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Learning from High-Potential Ventures

by Joseph B. Lassiter


I study high-potential ventures. Typically, these are professionally financed start-ups and buyouts in technology and consumer markets. My work is currently focused on the newly emerging energy and cleantech businesses. 

For the purposes of my research, a high-potential venture is defined as one having the objective of building at least $50 million per year of new product sales in five or fewer years. I study the high-potential setting because business problems and opportunities tend to stand out clearly under the stresses of such an environment. These problems and opportunities are highlighted in the conflicts between the expectations of employees and investors, as management confronts the constraints of time, cash flow, and financing. I focus on technology and consumer products because these tend to have relatively short, intense lifecycles, allowing the results obtained and the methods used by the managers to be observed before the evidence is either lost or forgotten. To date, I have written some 75 business cases and have supervised more than 500 student team projects to probe this population, extracting observations about what managers really did while managing ventures in a high-potential setting.