Help us to ensure that Gene's legacy and spirit of enterprise live on.


The origins of Gene Luczkiw’s research agenda began with the need to develop effective programs in the fields of entrepreneurship and new venture creation. Many of these innovative programs were delivered through the Institute for Enterprise Education, of which Gene was the founding Director. They were also delivered through Brock University, Faculty of Education and many private businesses and organizations throughout Canada and the rest of the world.

In the early 1990's Gene began an extensive review of literature and research that crossed a multitude of disciplines that included the physical, natural and social sciences. This journey of discovery led him to the emerging science of complexity and the study of complex adaptive systems. The traditional scientific method was no longer helpful in capturing interrelationships between essential parts as in the case of human interactions, the studies of ecologies and societies. The science of complexity provided him with models that especially helped all to better understand the entrepreneurial journey and how to transform existing realities into emerging opportunities.

The science of complexity became Gene’s frame work for conducting research, not only in the field of entrepreneurship, but in his efforts to help individuals of all ages and stages to discover their distinct talents, meaning and purpose in order to define their life’s mission. He further discovered the kind of environment needed to enable leaders and participants to effectively pursue their mission within a context of an organization’s purpose, vision and mission.

From 1993 to 2002, Gene conducted studies of over 2,700 small and medium enterprises around the globe.

Between 1996 and 1998, the Institute for Enterprise Education in partnership with the Royal Bank’s SME Markets ‘Understanding the Entrepreneur’ program enhanced the size of the sample by 1,100. The findings of this research led to a number of major discoveries:

  1. The 7 critical crisis points in the life of an enterprise.
  2. The ecological nature of enterprise growth.
  3. Innovation as the essential driver of change.
  4. The interdependence between innovation, management and technical expertise.
  5. The power of the network as the key determinant of an enterprises’ capability to move from a crisis point to a higher order on the next leg of the journey.

Stages of Growth

Stages of Growth Graph

The findings of this ongoing study help us to discover the nature of the entrepreneurial journey from a strategic perspective.

He also identified the metaphor of the jamming jazz band as the most effective structure for organic enterprises. The instruments represent the needs and requirements of the enterprise. The players represent talents and values. They have a vision of where they want to end up, but do not quite know how they will get there. Each member is free to take the lead when the right opportunity presents itself. Every jazz musician has a chance to play ‘solo’ while backed up by the rest of their ensemble. And when this type of activity occurs, the rest of the team supports them until another member takes over as the key player. Successful enterprises demonstrate these and many other principles of jamming jazz bands which include:

  • A high degree of competence
  • A strong sense of trust
  • Constant awareness of each other’s uniqueness
  • Diversity of talent
  • Constant communication and interaction
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Strong sense of meaning and motivation
  • Management by self-organization
  • A compelling vision of achievement
  • A great deal of improvisation
  • Changing nature of leadership based on needs
  • A great sense of humour
  • Improvisation

This journey over the past decade led to a number of innovative research initiatives.