The learning needs of small and medium-sized enterprises for design led innovation

Design Research Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of DRS2014: Design's big debates, Pushing the boundaries of design research, 2014, pp. 1288 - 1300
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20140615DRS_learningneedsSME.pdfAccepted Manuscript version2.26 MB
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Many scholars in the design research field are involved in (post)-graduate design education on the one hand, and some type of corporate education on the other. While there is a growing body of knowledge on educating design students, there is a gap in this research field with regard to the education of non-design professionals. This type of education has become more important now it is increasingly recognized that design can support innovation in businesses, so-called design led innovation. In this paper we focus on educating Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). We propose a learner-centred approach to the development of education, which means that insights in the learners' needs are used to develop programs on design-led innovation. To illustrate this approach we present how the learning needs of SMEs were investigated through the qualitative evaluation of a 'Building Design Competency' program. From this study can be concluded that SMEs have specific emotional, social and cognitive characteristics that influence their learning needs. These needs include trustworthy course providers and instructors, a learning community of non-competing peers, customized stimulation of a deep learning approach, and adjustment of teaching material to their initial level of customer and business insights.
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