Entrepreneurial research through design

Michele Rusk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This Paper reports on a longitudinal study of Entrepreneurial Leadership by Design. It takes a new perspective through a 'designerly' approach to research, conducted simultaneously with generative activity (Cross 2006). In doing so it highlights the similarities in cognitive approaches common to strategic design and entrepreneurial leadership. The methodological approach is based on abduction; the core reasoning process that underlies design, as the starting point for focusing on the design practice of problem framing as the foundation for innovative activity. Donald Schön's (1987) views on design as a reflective activity and the central role of frame creation (Dorst 2016) are taken up as situated action and situated cognition. In particular, the improvisational nature of reflection-in-action and subsequently reflection on reflection-in-action, are considered appropriate when investigating the complicated realm of socio-economic value creation. The research was conducted in the shared setting of studio practice known as Strategic Design Labs. Here collaborative design was employed as research methodology through a process of naming, framing and sense-making. In particular naming that which warrants attention (problem or paradox) and framing the context as a problem setting activity. Frame creation is a design-based approach that is purely problem-focused; as such it is the fundamental underpinning of a repertoire of generative methods employed in Strategic Design Labs. Here entrepreneurial leaders, be they expert designers, managers and/or stakeholder, platform strategic design activity so as to co-evolve multiple solutions in a co-creation process. This participatory action led to retrospective sense-making and subsequently yielded new hybrid research methodologies. The paper concludes with a holistic Design Dynamics Research Model Canvas that aggregates a range of design and business approaches into a combined methodology; its phases, methods, activity and instruments. This new model is of relevance to those seeking to investigate how entrepreneurial leaders engage in developmental innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ECIE 2018
EditorsCarlos Costa, Manuel Au-Yong-Oliveira, Marlene Paula Castro Amorim
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218975
ISBN (Print)9781510872097
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2018
Event13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ECIE 2018 - Aveiro, Portugal
Duration: 20 Sept 201821 Sept 2018


Conference13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ECIE 2018


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