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The Application of Systemic Co-Design in Developing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Format: Workshops, RSD12, RSD12 Workshops, RSD12-Amsterdam: Systemic co-design, Topic: Economics & Orgs, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Armand van Oostrom and Claudia Mayer

Innovation is essential to tackle the environmental challenges our society faces, such as the energy transition (Verdolini et al., 2021). Entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) (Wurth et al., 2022). Transitions are inherently complex, multi-level and multi-stakeholder (Markard et al., 2020). This complexity is increased as EEs are dealing with questions connected concurrently.

Sharpe (2016) describes these challenges to come to innovations in terms of three horizons. On the first, short-term horizon EEs try to identify evidence suggesting the current system is under strain, not being able to fit the emerging conditions or requirements, or even failing. On this same horizon is the search for examples of elements of future, better-fitting systems already in existence. For the second mid-term horizon, the quest is for innovations which have the potential to upscale the future system. The third, long-term horizon, focuses on the vision of what a future system would look like while also looking for which elements from the first horizon will still be valuable in the future.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems are looking for pathways (processes, methodologies, etc.) to deal with these challenges to generate innovations that provide solutions for transitions (Wurth, 2022). Systemic co-design offers a methodology which is already applied to explore new ways to solve societal issues, so-called wicked problems (Jones, 2021). Systemic co-design is a network approach that brings together the broad and diffuse fields of design and the systemic perspective as a way to address complex, unruly societal challenges. These complex issues contain ecological, social, and economic elements. Therefore, the issues must be approached in an integrated manner and start working together in multi-stakeholder coalitions. The co-design (creative collaboration) approach is increasingly seen as an approach to these issues (Smeek, 2021).

Keywords: innovation, transition, entrepreneurial ecosystems, three horizons

Presentation dates


Expertisenetwerk Systemisch Co-design




Citation Data

Author(s): Armand van Oostrom and Claudia Mayer
Year: 2023
Title: The Application of Systemic Co-Design in Developing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Amsterdam, NLD
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404