DESIGN THINKING AS THE POWERFUL ENGINE  BEHIND VALUE CREATION IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISES

Per Krull´s ph.d-project shows that design thinking as a philosophy and as a way of working and leading has a huge potential for value creation in social enterprises.

Through six amazing case studies, Social Enterprises,  run by six Kaospilot candidates, the Case Study unfolds the fascinated, sophisticated and alluring image of design thinking; especially when it contributes to a better world.

Photo by Johnni Cross 

 

In response to a world dominated by a business centred, efficiency-driven and profit-maximizing approach to value creation, new operators with other goals and other values are emerging. Social enterprises are operating with a new paradigm of social responsibility and sustainability that aim to change the world while making a profit.

 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROFIT GOES HAND IN HAND
The PhD-project is based on a case study of six social enterprises all started and run by social entrepreneurs having the Kaospilot’s three-year ‘Enterprising Leadership’ education in common.

The purpose for the project is to examine how design thinking can contribute to the social and economic value creation of social enterprises.

The entrepreneurs have demonstrated that it is possible to mix monetary and non-monetary value creation and to operate across borders especially in developing countries.

 

DESIGN THINKING IS QUESTIONING THE BASIC ASSUMPTIONS
An important element of design thinking is the phenomenon design attitude that indicates that all new projects have inherent possibilities and that the basic premise of any problem should be questioned.

Design Thinking represents a complex phenomenon that appears to be dominated by opened and exposed parameters such as open planning, but also by complex parameters such as the ability to recognize patterns.

Furthermore, one of design thinking’s particular strengths is to always question a problem’s basic assumptions to involve and engage stakeholders in core business by means of participatory design and multi-stakeholder value creation.

 

THE VALUE CREATING POTENTIAL IS NOT FULLY EXPLOITED YET
This study shows that a large number of parameters can lead to value creation in social companies; design attitude, prototypes and tests, the language including questions, facilitation and storytelling, exploration, exploitation and crystallisation and visualisation of desired future.

The analysis shows that both the six focus enterprises, the contents of the education and the existing body of literature about design thinking have two things in common: 1) The exploration is prioritised to exploitation and 2) The easily accessible parameters are prioritized over the deep cognitively complex parameters.

Based on the basis of the overall study, it can be concluded that there is a huge potential for developing design thinking and social enterprising in both practice and in theory.

 

The PhD defence is being held at Aarhus University the 1st of November 2013 with the assessment committee Professor Lars Hulgaard (Roskilde University), Professor Torben Bager (University of Southern Denmark) and Professor Lars Frederiksen (Aarhus University).

 

To read more about Per Krull click here, and download the official invite for his PhD defence here. The PhD paper can be downloaded from from Per Krull’s webpage from mid October.