Institutionalising design thinking in social entrepreneurship: a contextual analysis into social and organizational processes

Rama Kummitha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Design thinking is attracting practitioners and researchers in various walks of life. User integration principle as part of design thinking is expected to transform product and service creation and delivery. Accordingly, various organisations that venture into design thinking develop customised solutions and serve people’s needs. Social enterprises, which are familiar for their superior social value creation, have also claimed to embark upon this innovative approach to address wicked problems. The current paper makes an attempt to analyse various social and organisational processes that promote social enterprises to adopt design thinking to create products, which are relevant and viable among user groups. This paper finds that by adopting design thinking, social enterprises portray their product innovation genre, thereby representing their passion in addressing wicked problems more effectively.

This research adopts a qualitative case study method to understand the practice of design thinking in social enterprises.

In this study, it is found that that social enterprises adopt design thinking as a methodology while exploring solutions for stubborn problem space. However, neither communities nor social entrepreneurial teams are aware that they are carrying out design thinking practices. This research finds that social entrepreneurs and their teams take up designer roles and carry out designing processes by continuously consulting with user groups. One of the major reasons for the unintended adoption of design thinking is related to community integration and user participation in the day-to-day practices of social enterprises.

This study offers original research to understand social entrepreneurial exploration to adopt design thinking to create social value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-107
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018


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