The purpose of this case study is to explore the values, beliefs and attitudes of the startup and design communities to create a new model for interaction that supports connection, collaboration and shared value creation. 

Primary research, conducted in the Columbus, Ohio, area during January and February 2014, includes an online survey as well as open-ended and semistructured interviews with representatives of each community. Secondary sources include peer-reviewed academic papers and popular books relevant to establishing current theoretical and methodological practice in startups and design.

Data analysis and synthesis of findings revealed areas of convergence and divergence in values and practice related to the quality of, and approach to, work, the type of learning sought from these activities, how each community relates to the management of capital, costs and equity, insights into the beliefs and attitudes that motivate behavior and opportunities for learning and collaboration.

This resulted in the exploration of an event concept designed to create a low-barrier-to-entry experience for designers and entrepreneurs that would facilitate creation of shared understanding between these communities, offer networking as a value add, and act as a forum for advancing knowledge around the value of design and design thinking in early
stage startups.  

From this, we conclude that there is potential to make meaning by engaging a young generation of entrepreneurs and exposing them to the value of design and design thinking as an innovative way to change the fundamental relationship between design and business in the future.

It is recommended that both communities work collaboratively to create lean design practice that supports validated learning, new shared-value models that create equity for designers as integral to entrepreneurship, and methods for advancing and disseminating this learning as a means of driving startup success by leveraging design as the competitive advantage.


Want to learn more? View the complete case study here.