• Rory MacDonald


Parallel Play: Startups, Nascent Markets, and the Effective Design of a Business Model. Rory McDonald, 2019, Paper, "Prior research advances several explanations for entrepreneurial success in nascent markets but leaves a key imperative unexplored: the business model. By studying five ventures in the same nascent market, we develop a novel theoretical framework for understanding how entrepreneurs effectively design business models: parallel play. Similar to parallel play by preschoolers, entrepreneurs engaged in parallel play interweave action, cognition, and timing to accelerate learning about a novel world. Specifically, they (1) borrow from peers and focus on established substitutes, (2) test assumptions, then commit to a broad business-model template, and (3) pause before elaborating the activity system. The insights from our framework contribute to research on optimal distinctiveness, and to the learning and evolutionary-adjustment literature on search. More broadly, we blend organization theory with a fresh theoretical lens—business-model processes—to highlight how organizations actually work and create value." Link