Future entrepreneurs design a way: supporting product innovation with a design thinking approach in a children’s extracurricular sewing programme
Entrepreneurship as a possible solution to the unemployment in South Africa and can be promoted through entrepreneurship education. The two distinguishing skills of entrepreneurs as opposed to small business managers, who are not necessarily entrepreneurial, have been identified as: creativity and innovation. This paper reports on a study undertaken in response to a real life problem in a children’s extracurricular sewing programme offered for a period of one year to improve children’s technical sewing skills. Parents of the children who participated in the programme voiced a need the following year to have an extracurricular programme that supports their children’s entrepreneurial skills in addition to developing technical sewing skills. An action research process was followed to 1) explore the role of an intervention aimed to support product innovation of the participants and 2) explore the design intent of participants during the intervention. . The qualitative methods implemented were visual analysis of participants’ products resulting from a design process and documents where they had stated their design intent. The intervention aligned Design Thinking principles with the dimensions of creativity and in essence supported participants to design solutions for a particular target market. Findings suggest that Design Thinking principles aligned to the dimensions of creativity can encourage product innovation and enabled participants to experiment freely with product prototypes that have an entrepreneurial design intent.