Forming Opportunities through Design Thinking
Comparing Visual Narratives of Chilean Designer/Non-Designer Founders
Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Opportunities, Design Thinking, Entrepreneurial Competencies, Design Entrepreneurship
An interesting development in the entrepreneurial economy is the rise in both number and diversity of roles played by designers. Be it as consultants, contractors, educators, founders or funding decision-makers, design skills seem to be increasingly attractive to entrepreneurial teams, accelerator programs and venture capital. This exploratory study asks whether the practices, cognitive processes and mindsets prevalent in a formal design education help in the formation of entrepreneurial opportunities. Using a visual narrative approach, it compares the processes through which entrepreneurial opportunities were formed by 14 Chilean founders from design and non-design backgrounds, with the purpose of identifying how design thinking contributes to, hinders, or fails to support those processes. Findings suggest that collaborative work styles, thinking by doing and reflective reframing have the greatest positive impacts on opportunity formation, regardless of the disciplinary background of founders. Design thinking does not seem to provide a clear understanding of value creation and resource leveraging. The study finds parallels between design thinking and opportunity formation that can be drawn upon to improve development of entrepreneurial competencies among designers.