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«Arbeitsberichte aus dem Fachbereich Informatik Die Arbeitsberichte aus dem Fachbereich Informatik dienen der Darstellung vorläufiger Ergebnisse, die ...»

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Introducing Entrepeneurial

Design Thinking

Harald F.O. von Kortzfleisch

Ilias Mokanis

Dorothée Zerwas

Nr. 5/2012

Arbeitsberichte aus dem

Fachbereich Informatik

Die Arbeitsberichte aus dem Fachbereich Informatik dienen der Darstellung

vorläufiger Ergebnisse, die in der Regel noch für spätere Veröffentlichungen

überarbeitet werden. Die Autoren sind deshalb für kritische Hinweise dankbar. Alle

Rechte vorbehalten, insbesondere die der Übersetzung, des Nachdruckes, des

Vortrags, der Entnahme von Abbildungen und Tabellen – auch bei nur auszugsweiser Verwertung.

The “Arbeitsberichte aus dem Fachbereich Informatik“ comprise preliminary results which will usually be revised for subsequent publication. Critical comments are appreciated by the authors. All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced by any means or translated.

Arbeitsberichte des Fachbereichs Informatik ISSN (Print): 1864-0346 ISSN (Online): 1864-0850

Herausgeber / Edited by:

Der Dekan:

Prof. Dr. Grimm

Die Professoren des Fachbereichs:

Prof. Dr. Bátori, Prof. Dr. Burkhardt, Prof. Dr. Diller, Prof. Dr. Ebert, Prof. Dr.

Furbach, Prof. Dr. Grimm, Prof. Dr. Hampe, Prof. Dr. Harbusch, jProf. Dr. Kilian, Prof. Dr. von Korflesch, Prof. Dr. Lämmel, Prof. Dr. Lautenbach, Prof. Dr. Müller, Prof. Dr. Oppermann, Prof. Dr. Paulus, Prof. Dr. Priese, Prof. Dr. Rosendahl, jProf. Dr. Scherp, Prof. Dr. Schubert, Prof. Dr. SofronieStokkermans, Prof. Dr. Staab, Prof. Dr. Steigner, Prof. Dr. Sure, Prof. Dr. Troitzsch, Prof. Dr. Wimmer, Prof. Dr. Zöbel Kontaktdaten der Verfasser Harald von Korzfleisch, Ilias Mokanis, Dorotheé Zerwas Institut für Management Fachbereich Informatik Universität Koblenz-Landau Universitätsstraße 1 D-56070 Koblenz E-Mail: harald.von.kortzfleisch@uni-koblenz.de, iliasmokanis@uni-koblenz.de, dorozerwas@uni-koblenz.de INTRODUCING ENTREPENEURIAL DESIGN THINKING, Fachbereich Informatik 5/2012



Harald F.O. von Kortzfleisch* Ilias Mokanis* Dorothée Zerwas* *University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany


The objective of this contribution is to conceptually analyze the potentials of entrepreneurial design thinking as being a rather new method for entrepreneurship education. Based on a literature review of different design thinking concepts we carve out a generic design thinking model upon we conceptually build a new model that considers entrepreneurial thinking as a valuable characteristic. The results of our work show that the characteristics of entrepreneurial design thinking can enhance entrepreneurship education by supporting respective action fields of entrepreneurial learning. In addition we reveal that entrepreneurial design thinking offers beneficial guidelines for the design of entrepreneurship education programs.

Keywords: design thinking, entrepreneurial thinking, entrepreneurial design thinking, entrepreneurship education, teams

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According to Romme (2003), design can be understood as an ideal-typical mode of engaging in scientific research and as an alternative to a natural sciences- and a humanitiesbased mode. Especially, design science involves inquiry into systems that do not yet exist. It is based on contributing to the so-called “relevance gap” between theory and practice by finding out about if systems will work (epistemological notion of pragmatism), and it draws on “design causality” in order to produce scientific knowledge, which is actionable and also open to validation (Van Aken and Romme, 2009; Van Aken, 2004; Romme, 2003). Against this background, design thinking is the basic methodology in order to “build up” ideas as the outcome of creative processes. According to Simon (1969, 55), this process has seven stages (define, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement and learn) which can occur simultaneously and can be passed through repeatedly. Similar stage models have been developed by institutions like the “Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University” (dschool.stanford.edu) in Stanford, USA, or most recently the “School of Entrepreneurial Design Thinking – The ED-School” (www.ed-school.com) at the


University of Koblenz-Landau in Koblenz, Germany. Although design thinking becomes increasingly attractive for business management, it has not yet been sufficiently recognized and discussed in the context of entrepreneurship and especially not in the context of entrepreneurship education. Still, there seems to be a gap between the design focus on creativity and invention on the one side and the entrepreneurial innovation focus on the other side (Cruickshank, 2010). In the following, we intend to overcome this gap by introducing the notion and concept of entrepreneurial design thinking. The objective of this contribution is to conceptually analyze the potentials of entrepreneurial design thinking as being a rather new method for entrepreneurship education. The results of our work show that the characteristics of entrepreneurial design thinking can enhance entrepreneurship education. In addition we reveal that entrepreneurial design thinking offers beneficial guidelines for the design of entrepreneurship education programs.

Based on the body of knowledge concerning design science, design thinking and entrepreneurship, we define entrepreneurial design thinking as a team-diversity-based approach for treating user-centered problems as entrepreneurial opportunities within an iterative process supported by the use of creativity fostering tools and environments.

The research design of this contribution is mainly conceptual however we also implicitly integrate our first experiences with workshops that we conducted in entrepreneurial design thinking classes at the University of Koblenz-Landau (Denzin, 2006). In the following, we will discuss different models of design thinking and conceptually develop an understanding for the characteristics of entrepreneurial design thinking. Afterwards we will formulate a model of entrepreneurial design thinking, introduce its main characteristics and discuss the implications of this model for entrepreneurship education.

–  –  –

Design theory The concept of design has a long tradition in organization theory as well as in management science, not least by virtue of the seminal work of Herbert A. Simon (1969).

Thus it is not surprising that the field of design management evolved very successfully over the last decades in both disciplines (Cooper and Junginger, 2008). In very general terms, design is about the creation of meaning and describes both the results (systems, artifacts et cetera) and the development processes, which lead to the respective outputs (Kazmierczak, 2003). Design management conceptually links the potential benefits of creative design resources with business-oriented management decisions and the potential advantages of the use of management know-how with design processes and related outcomes (Best, 2006).

Besides its business orientation, design management’s contributions as a research discipline are rooted in what is called design research and design science.

INTRODUCING ENTREPENEURIAL DESIGN THINKING, Fachbereich Informatik 5/2012 In his work Charles Owen (1998) identified that design always consists of two phases: an analytical phase consisting of searching an understanding and a synthetic phase consisting of experimentation an invention (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Owens’ model of knowledge generation in design theory (Owen, 1998) Owen sees those phases in a framework that can describe the process of knowledge development trough design. He suggests that the design process has both analytic and synthetic elements, and that it operates in both the theoretical and practical realms. In the analytic phases of design, one focuses on finding and discovering, while in the synthetic phases of design, one focuses on invention and making. Movement between the theoretical and practical realms happens as participants in the process draw insights from what they have learned in the world of practice, convert it to


ideas or theories, and then translate those theories back into the realm of practice in the form of artifacts or institutions.

He proposes that this is the elementary innovation process that fits all fields, although tools and techniques might differ in each field.

Design thinking theory

The range of understanding of design thinking is broad and diverse across several disciplines. These definitions cover generic descriptions like “approaching managerial problems as designers approach design problems” (Dunne and Martin, 2006, 512) to narrow down definitions of design thinking as “a distinctive process of mind which manifests itself in shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color containing performance (functionality), image (aesthetics, look, feel) and style (a manner of doing things, especially in a fashionable way) to produce a product, process, service, user experience, or an organic change” (Ilipinar et al., 2008, 6). As an effort to define design thinking by delimitation, Liedka (2004) compares science and design and infers that science uncovers actual conditions while design envisions options. Romme (2003) compares design with science and INTRODUCING ENTREPENEURIAL DESIGN THINKING, Fachbereich Informatik 5/2012 with humanities as different research paradigms and connects the disciplines with the proposal of a design-science interface, and arranges a circular design within. Furthermore, the independence and membership of design thinking to disciplines throughout different sciences and arts is being discussed (Johansson and Woodilla, 2009). Buchanan (1992) even formulates a “doctrine of placements”, describing design thinking as the systematic pattern of conceptual repositioning designs (including symbols, material objects, activities, organizations or complex systems).

The entrepreneurship-design-thinking nexus

Entrepreneurship and design thinking seem to be two disciplines, which are divided and thematically far away from each other. O’Grady (2008) even reveals a ‘culture clash’ between social sciences and design when he compares the different cultures of management and design students. Although there are interfaces between those disciplines, like in organizational design, there has always been the limitation of comparability due to different attitudes towards research: while design majoritarian excludes prediction as a modus operandi and embraces intuition and experiments, social sciences (including entrepreneurship) rely on prediction as their source of knowledge (Dunnbar and Starbuck, 2006). Even while design thinking is promoted as one of five future entrepreneurial minds (Duening, 2010) it is limited to the fields of “organizing” and “operating”.

Despite this fundamental difference in researching approaches and allocations, design thinking and entrepreneurship seem to be a promising combination as a teaching approach in entrepreneurship education. Especially in the area of scientific entrepreneurship, design thinking can help to build sustainable concepts that are no more just technology-driven but also consider real-live-problems as impulses for development. In order to identify the possible benefits from this combination, we first need to unveil the nexus of entrepreneurship and design thinking. In literature, we can find examples that discuss similarities between those two disciplines. Following we will discuss the notion of entrepreneurs as designers (actor), the similarity in environmental condition, the similarity in the requirement of character and the role of creativity as a tool.

Similarity of actors: Boland et al. (2008) for example describe entrepreneurs as designing managers. In a similar approach, Sarasvathy et al. (2008) indicate that entrepreneurs and designers have similarities by unveiling the entrepreneurs’ attributes as designers. In their work they point out that entrepreneurs are designers on two levels. First they design entrepreneurial artifacts, which can be new organizations, markets or institutions. Second their artifacts design their own environment. Furthermore in design thinking (Dunne & Martin 2006) as well as in entrepreneurship (Foo et al., 2005) the advantages of multidisciplinary teams are discussed. Both disciplines consider team-based approaches as central elements.

Similarity of environmental condition: Furthermore entrepreneurs deal with uncertainty that makes it impossible to calculate probabilities for future consequences INTRODUCING ENTREPENEURIAL DESIGN THINKING, Fachbereich Informatik 5/2012 (Sarasvathy, 2004; Sarasvathy et al., 2008). This environmental condition is also identified in the context of design with the notion of “wicked problems” that designers face (Buchanan, 1992). In both disciplines uncertainty is a major force that drives behavior.

Similarity in character: In entrepreneurship as well as in design thinking there is a distinct need for empathy. Entrepreneurs use empathy in order to gauge the appropriateness of novel ideas (Chiles et al., 2010). It helps entrepreneurs to understand the problems (prospect) customers have. Designers use empathy in the same manner when they imagine the world from a user perspective, (Brown 2008) and understand (prospect) users’ problems (Dunne and Martin, 2006). This attribute allows for entrepreneurs and designers to address explicit or latent needs. Especially the identification of latent needs enables the creation of new markets.

Similarity in creativity as a tool: Creativity is like empathy an important element in both disciplines. In design thinking creativity is the core of discussion in all works (PingYong Lee, 2008). Li (2002) describes design as being the synthesis of creativity as the ability to imagine new thing and innovation as the ability to bring those new things together.

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