Entrepreneurship and Creativity: Case Studies in Design and Fashion Companies

Under the government's action plan for cultural and creative businesses VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, finances and organizes studies of small and medium-sized enterprises to analyse the conditions for business growth opportunities in this sector. The studies are carried out in 2011-2012. Entrepreneurship and Creativity: Case Studies in Design and Fashion Companies is one of five projects in this program.

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The purpose of the case studies in design and fashion companies is to describe and analyse how companies with design and fashion as a core of the business concept exercise leadership and is able to maintain a high creative level in its operations and development. Two main issues are the starting point; how are creative processes managed and organized and how is the creative result in the company commercialized? Based on these issues questions about the organization, marketing, brand building and licensing as well as the financial development are investigated. We also intend to investigate how various difficulties; including financial ones in the early years, have been overcome. The case studies are selected to demonstrate different leadership and organization of design and fashion companies, how design interacts with other features in and around the company.

Despite being a design process fashion design is a community separate from the design community based on product and industrial design, although there are overlaps. Fashion has mainly been studied from a cultural or sociological perspective, economic perspective on fashion companies often have a traditional brand focus. Recent research has brought attention to the specific logic that characterizes companies, especially fashion companies, where aesthetics is the core product. Besides design history research in design has taken a different route and been discovered as a source for innovation with design thinking as a key concept. The research on aesthetic economies and innovation can help to increase understanding of various processes and leadership in both design and fashion companies.

Leading questions:

  1. How is the interaction between the designer and various management functions within the company (administration, marketing, sales, sourcing, distribution, etc.) organized and developed?
  2. How do investors view the needs of creative processes?
  3. How do firms create their brands, the choice of marketing strategies, etc.?
  4. How is the integration between design and intellectual property rights (IPR) developed, for example licensing?
  5. What is the importance of design awards for the development of the business?