New Design Thinking Tools for the Next Generation of Designer-Entrepreneurs

Sara Colombo, Cabirio Cautela, Lucia Rampino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses a new phenomenon to date poorly researched both in entrepreneurship and Design Thinking literature: Design-Intensive Start-ups (DIS), i.e. start-ups that focus on design as primary source for their development. Two main questions underpin the study: what are the specific features that describe design-intensive start-ups? Which are possible conceptual tools supporting designers in the creation of their own design-based enterprises? A multiple case studies protocol was adopted to investigate the first question. According to our results, DIS diverge from New-Technology Start-ups on several dimensions, and represent an alternative entrepreneurial model, which is not supported by extant literature. Currently, there are no tools helping designers to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, we developed a set of Design Thinking tools addressing the specific traits of DIS in the steps of their creation and evolution. Such tools are intended to support the decision-making process of designers-entrepreneurs in the foundation of their own start-ups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S566-S580
JournalDesign Journal
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Design Educational Tools
  • Design Thinking
  • New entrepreneurship
  • Starting-up


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