In this article we seek to develop a better understanding of how design knowledge development (DKD) ventures may gain ‘good currency’. The reflective cycle is generally considered to be a key element in the accumulation of design knowledge and crucial to the interface of science and design. However, the elements that may encourage or inhibit the enactment of this cycle in development ventures have received scant attention in the literature on organizational design. In our analysis, we show how DKD ventures face important barriers related to the institutional context and institutional entrepreneurship. We argue that the current conceptualizations and practices of knowledge development in organizational design need to pay much more attention to building legitimacy.