Designing Conditions for Disruptive Innovation Ecosystems

Badziili Nthubu, Daniel Richards, Leon Cruickshank

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The concept of disruptive innovation ecosystems relates to a type of ecosystem capable of delivering disruption in underserved markets. This idea can create serendipity for disruption through new ways of thinking and leveraging resources across businesses. However, scant research exists on what and how to design conditions for disruption utilising resources and capabilities at the boundaries of businesses. Based on network theory and characterisation, we evoke an alternative design mode using visuals and speech to generate rich data with participants in makerspaces. The qualitative and visualisation data is analysed using thematic and visual network analysis techniques, respectively. Our findings suggest three main conditions that may be satisfied to create serendipity for disruptive innovation ecosystems to emerge: Navigating high risks, creating new markets, and generating new roles. Our findings also highlight factors under these three conditions that may be promoted to create disruption. Combining the thinking “through design” approach using visuals and speech with network theory and characterisation, we demonstrate the significance of coupling conversations with drawings, thus moving past abstractions and helping participants to see and better understand the inner workings of their ecosystem attributes. Using theoretical constructs embedded in visualisations can help design researchers and ecosystem practitioners design conditions for disruptive innovation ecosystems. The originality of this work is in linking network theory and characterisation with speech and visual data capture and analysis, thus presenting a strategic asset and alternative way of thinking and acting on boundary spanning resources and capabilities in local ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWith Design: Reinventing Design Modes
EditorsGerhard Bruyns, Huaxin Wei
PublisherSpringer Nature, Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-19-4472-7
ISBN (Print)978-981-19-4471-0
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2022


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