Prior research reveals that many academics believe opportunity identification cannot be taught. This paper attempts to provide a framework for the teaching of opportunity identification. It argues that an understanding of the forces that shape opportunity can aid their identification. This is of particular importance to small entrepreneurs who do not have the resources of large companies to influence their environment. The paper begins by discerning between opportunity creation and discovery. Recognising the importance of non-market activity in creating opportunities, a discussion and example is provided of such activity. The issue of timing is explored through the concept of 'thresholds' when an environmental force reaches a point that sustains the existence of a business, and two models are introduced to illustrate these concepts. The first is a creativity/discovery spectrum which illustrates the difference between the two is dependent on the state of the environment and the work needed by the entrepreneur to bring the opportunity into existence. The second is an extension of the Product Life Cycle to provide a framework to explore dynamics behind opportunities, including growth stages, niche development, thresholds, the importance of timing and luck.
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