Navigating Complexity through Co-design : Visualising, Understanding and Activating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Nthubu, Badziili and Perez Ojeda, David and Richards, Daniel and Cruickshank, Leon (2022) Navigating Complexity through Co-design : Visualising, Understanding and Activating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. The Design Journal, 25 (5). pp. 730-751. ISSN 1460-6925

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) draw on inter-firm resources to innovate. As a result, SMEs find themselves embedded in complex local ecosystems that they do not fully understand. We used the co-design visualisation approach to help actors visualise, understand and activate entrepreneurial actions to address this challenge. The study engaged SMEs, researchers and innovation policymakers as examples of key actors in a local ecosystem. The first co-design workshop was at a Botswana leather incubator with 15 manufacturing SMEs. Then we evaluated our approach with 65 participants from research and policy environments across seven African countries. Lastly, we conducted a workshop with 20 SMEs from Botswana Innovation Hub. Our findings suggest that using ecosystem visualisations as rigorous heuristics empowers actors to identify opportunities for entrepreneurship. Implications for this research emphasise the role of co-design visualisations in navigating complex and less developed entrepreneurial ecosystems to drive regional strategy and innovation.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Design Journal
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Design Journal on 16/06/2022, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? entrepreneurial ecosystemsco-designinnovationvisualisationssmescomputer graphics and computer-aided design ??
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Deposited On:
04 Apr 2022 14:10
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 01:12