Is Design a Solution for the Small and Medium Enterprises Future? The “Design Concept” Contest

By Gaëlle Dechamp-Goy and Bérangère Szostak.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article develops the idea put forward by Washington and Ventresca (2004) that institutions can sustain an emergent strategy in a given field. Ordinarily considered as stable elements of that field, these institutions may be subject to change. This theoretical approach is the object of a case study set in the framework of a contest. Organized by the General Council of the Loire and aimed at SME located in its constituency, the contest goal is to encourage innovation through design. By design, one must understand a creation produced by Man for industrial and commercial use. An emergent strategy is defined as new when situated within a defined context and a specific period of time.
An exploratory case study has been conducted in order to help understand how this integration works. It takes into account qualitative data such as the RFID patch project led by the DOING Company within the framework of “Design Concept” Contest. Based on the mechanisms formulated by Washington and Ventresca (2004), this analysis has been elaborated to illustrate how an emergent strategy can be successfully incorporated. Several empirical questions subsequently follow: “What are the characteristics that allow business managers settled in the Loire district to adopt a design strategy? Which fields of activity in the Loire area are the most inclined to be compatible with the design strategy? Which business projects are the most eligible for partnership with designers? How will the General Council choose the subjects for the contest in order to initiate change within institutions?

Keywords: Emergent Strategy for Innovation, Design, Neo-institutional Theories, Case Study

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.79-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 901.735KB).

Gaëlle Dechamp-Goy

PhD, Business Laboratory, Saint-Etienne University, Saint-Etienne, France

Bérangère Szostak

PhD, Lyon University, Lyon, France


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