Firms stimulate new economic activity through the managerial capabilities of structuring, bundling and leveraging resources (Sirmon et al, 2011) generating economic activity and strategic renewal (Agarwal & Helfat, 2009). Previous research found that entrepreneurial firms often use processes such as improvisation, bricolage or effectuation to explore and exploit business opportunities. However these processes are all elements of design methods that firms use to create and test new possibilities in the marketplace and, with the exception of studies of award winning firms, little research has been carried out on the design processes used to generate entrepreneurial action.

Furthermore, the increasing investment and growing number of programs applying design principles to generate new business opportunities and economic activity in both Europe and Asia highlight the need for closer examination of the processes, potential benefits and limitations of design programs. This research investigates both the processes used by design intervention programs to generate new entrepreneurial action, and the effects on these programs on firms.