Linking complex problem solving to opportunity identification competence within the context of entrepreneurship

Yvette Baggen*, Jakob Mainert, Thomas Lans, H.J.A. Biemans, Samuel Greiff, Martin Mulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Today’s working life is increasingly characterized by entrepreneurial challenges. Entrepreneurial challenges start at an individual level with the identification of entrepreneurial opportunities, which is acknowledged as one of the key competencies for lifelong learning. Since the identification of entrepreneurial opportunities relies heavily on the opportunity identification competence (OIC) of individuals, understanding the meaning of OIC is relevant. Until now, OIC has been explored in the young entrepreneurship research field. However, entrepreneurship researchers until now have not fully explored OIC. According to several authors, the research on complex problem solving (CPS) in the cognitive research field might contribute to understanding OIC. In this paper, we review the link between OIC and CPS by comparing the cognitive and entrepreneurship research fields. We argue that those who excel in identifying opportunities share core characteristics with high-level complex problem-solvers. We propose to conduct empirical research in the future to investigate the relation between OIC and CPS within a work context in order to gain more insight into OIC. We believe that the cognitive research field contributes to the entrepreneurship research field and provides a deeper understanding of the initial steps of the entrepreneurial process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-429
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • complex problem solving
  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • opportunity identification competence


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