UBC Graduate Research

Design Thinking, Innovation and Business Incubators: A Literature Review Beausoleil, Angele


The importance of innovation in corporate competitiveness and global economic growth has made it a central topic of research over the past decade with a growing recognition that design thinking, as the new approach to innovation, plays a critical role. Despite case studies of corporate enterprise success, little is known on how business incubators, the organizations who nurture and launch small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), undertake design thinking and innovative activities. This paper reviews available literature and examines the relationship between design thinking, innovation and business incubation and presents varying perspectives of design-led innovation in commercial for-profit incubators. The results of this multidisciplinary survey illustrate how the integration of design thinking and innovative approaches are redefining the next generation of business incubators and providing greater socio-economic value. It concludes with a discussion of gaps and weaknesses in the literature and some requirements for future research in this field. The purpose of this research is to broaden the understanding of the effects of design thinking and innovation in the context of business incubator and next generation business models.

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