Inc. has a great article concerning the differences in thought processes between big corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.
Corporate leaders, dealing with known markets, and incremental innovation – are much more plan-focused and step through more solid, mathematical, logical process. Innovative entrepreneurs – working with a lot of unknowns in customers, markets, designs – and seeking ground-breaking innovation – seek immediacy and flexibility. Less time is invested in the academic exercises like market research and business plans – more time is invested in building stuff.
Sarasvathy likes to compare expert entrepreneurs to Iron Chefs: at their best when presented with an assortment of motley ingredients and challenged to whip up whatever dish expediency and imagination suggest. Corporate leaders, by contrast, decide they are going to make Swedish meatballs. They then proceed to shop, measure, mix, and cook Swedish meatballs in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible.
That is not to say entrepreneurs don’t have goals, only that those goals are broad and—like luggage—may shift during flight. Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss. Repeatedly, the entrepreneurs in her study expressed impatience with anything that smacked of extensive planning, particularly traditional market research. (Inc.’s own research backs this up. One survey of Inc. 500 CEOs found that 60 percent had not written business plans before launching their companies. Just 12 percent had done market research.)