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Title: Entrepreneurial design studies for agile product design in technological start-ups
Author: Gronneberg, Grønneberg Ipiales Inty
ISNI:       0000 0004 8504 7106
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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Although technological start-ups are at the core of the debate about fostering job creation and wealth, many studies remain theoretical and are unable to provide practical information to founders. Consequently, much of the knowledge used by new technology-based firms comes from anecdotal evidence. The research reported here focuses on closing the gap between theory and practice, and includes the creation of models that support the decision-making process in technological start-ups. This thesis shares several contributions - such as frameworks and inductively developed models, as well as the proposed tools - that have been produced using design reasoning and activity-system design analysis, and which can be used by technological start-ups to maximise their ability to reach product-market fit and expansion. For instance, a general framework has been developed that contains parameters for scalability, such as organisational innovation and adaptability, design methods for the product and organisation, customer validation, and financial analysis. Findings continue with the formulation of an inductive user-driven innovation (UDI) model for technological start-ups developing physical products, named here as Hardware Start-ups. The model constitutes a framework with five phases of growth and a different set of design elements that change dynamically based on the evolution of customer understanding. These five phases are as follows: an exploratory phase using effectual strategies; an iterative phase to refine the best product; an agile product development phase; a sales-focused phase to generate incremental growth; and a scaling-up phase that incorporates business model integration. Contributions also include the novel use of the action design research (ADR) approach to effectively enable knowledge development by connecting both the theoretical and practical insights. For example, the outcome from applying the ADR approach was the development of a toolkit that increased the usability of the UDI model from 41.4% to 76.9%, according to participants in one of the action case studies presented in this thesis. The results of this project can be used by practitioners for agile product development, which relies on dynamic processes for decision-making based on customer-driven design. The results may also be of interest for future studies on technological entrepreneurship.
Supervisor: Childs, Peter ; Aurisicchio, Marco Sponsor: Secretary of Higher Education, Science and Technology "SENESCYT"
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral