Sustaining social innovation enterprises through a design led innovation framework

Bucolo, Sam & Wrigley, Cara (2013) Sustaining social innovation enterprises through a design led innovation framework. In Faust, Jurgen (Ed.) Business Design Conference 2011, 17-19 Nov 2011, Barcelona, Spain. (Unpublished)


Constant changes in the global economic environment require companies to revisit traditional assumptions about how businesses create and capture value (Teece, 2010). In recent years, management practice literature has focused largely on better understanding business models and business model innovation (Amit, Zott and Massa, 2010; Johnson, Christensen and Kagermann, 2008). Much has been written on the benefits of linking design and design thinking to organisational strategies and business transformation. However, very little has been researched and reported on regarding the impact of design led approaches to triple bottom-line opportunities such as, social innovation enterprise.

In the context of this paper Design Led Innovation is defined as the tools and approaches which enable design thinking to be embedded as an element of cultural transformation within a business. Being Design Led requires a company to have a vision for top line growth founded on deep customer insights and expanded through customer and stakeholder engagements. The outcomes of this are then mapped to all aspects of the business, enabling the vision to be successfully implemented and achieved. It is the latter part of this definition where we believe Design Led Innovation has the greatest value in transforming social innovation enterprise into a sustainable business venture. However, we also acknowledge that enabling these firms to think strategically about their business model is difficult given the unique operational and funding challenges that often characterize many social enterprises.

The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to pose the question, do sustainable innovation enterprise innovate their business model? And if so, how? It is the authors’ opinion that such enterprises only innovate at the product or system level without a complete understanding of the business model structure, which underpins the long term viability. However, in this paper we challenge this notion and explore if such firms can overcome their size and operational constraints to become sustainable enterprises using a design led approach. This is achieved through contextualizing business model innovation, briefly defining social innovation enterprise and profiling a new and emerging industry in Australia – Clean Technology. Future research challenges and opportunities are also presented.

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ID Code: 70042
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The authors
Deposited On: 10 Apr 2014 00:27
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2017 19:08

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