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  • 2020perezphd

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Design by social entrepreneurs: The analysis of four Chilean social entrepreneurs

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2021
Number of pages366
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Social entrepreneurship is the application of the mindset, process, tools and techniques of business entrepreneurship to the pursuit of a social and or environmental mission. However, issues such as lack of resources and knowledge affect the performance of these organisations. On the other hand, design is used by organisations to increase their competitive advantages and in social innovation to develop solutions to pressing social issues using the principles of sustainability. Nevertheless, despite the wide range of studies regarding the benefits of design for organisations and social innovation, there is no evidence of studies regarding the use of design by social entrepreneurs.
This thesis studies how four Chilean social entrepreneurs use design through their social entrepreneurship processes. For this purpose, a Narrative Research was conducted in a business incubator in which these entrepreneurs were participating in a programme called Open Gate. Data collection methods such as semi-structured interviews with members of the staff and social entrepreneurs were used. The data collected were analysed using a model developed for this study called Social Entrepreneurship and Design Framework. This multidimensional framework enabled the analysis of the main issues that social entrepreneurs encounter against the social entrepreneurship process and different levels of design use.
It was concluded that these entrepreneurs encountered six main issues in their processes: research, community engagement, development, co-creation, positioning and strategies. Consequently, six design drivers were described that show how design was used in the issues found. Buchanan’s four orders of design model were adopted to classify the design practices used by the entrepreneurs. This analysis shows that design practices such as graphic, product, interaction and experience design as well as illustrations were mostly conducted by designers, both, external or internal to the social enterprise. Facilitation activities, processes of engagement and strategies were conducted by social entrepreneurs (non-designers).