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This paper examines the intersections between two futures-oriented domains of practice and research: scenario planning and design. Both are practice-led, with uneasy but productive relationships with theorizing. Exploring their relations offers ways to address challenges faced by interdisciplinary management research, which struggles to connect research and practice. The authors describe how they brought the two fields together. We outline how we convened, designed and facilitated the fourth Oxford Futures Forum held in May 2014. This event brought together leading practitioners and researchers in a collective inquiry based on self-organizing, generative and reflexive making and dialogue. How participants engaged, from responding to the invitation to take part, as well as their practical and discursive encounters with one another during the event, threw up similarities and differences between the two fields. We present nine themes that capture the links and spaces between design and scenarios, yet suggest that they are not a straightforward overlap or a simple relationship, but rather a range of interactions between the fields, including feeding in, bridging, tension and repulsion. The paper's contribution is to suggest how scenario planning can engage with design, resulting in new opportunities for research and projects. These modes of engagement provide a framing to explore dialogues between other management disciplines.
The Oxford Scenarios Programme (OSP) is an executive education programme at the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford that uses ‘reflective practice’ (Schön 1983) to help individuals alone and in groups learn by doing and reflecting. Since 2007 this experiential learning (Markulis 1985) has been helped by deploying “live client case studies” to ground the learning in a real, still-unfolding, setting. Our designing executive education as an inquiring system (Churchman 1971) includes wider stakeholder engagement as a foundation for learning. The main purpose of the OSP is to help participants to improve the effectiveness of their scenario planning by understanding the epistemology, theories and methodology that underpin choices of methods (techniques, practices, tools) used in any scenario planning engagement. Grounding this in a real engagement with live ‘clients’ helps learners but little is known about how it helps or is meaningful to clients and their organizations. It is this experience with clients we analyze in this paper. The OSP has been a week-long programme since 2007 occurring twice each year. The clashes between theory and practice that this programme design surfaced has helped faculty to produce research that clarifies methodological and epistemological misunderstandings (e.g., Ramirez and Wilkinson 2014, 2016). The stable format offers laboratory-like conditions to allow
comparison of how live case client executives benefit from a limited exposure (set up brief, three hours Monday evening, one on Wednesday, and 90 minutes on Friday) to scenario planning applied on an issue that matters to their organisation. We used abduction (Suddaby 2006) and interpretative research (Gephardt 2004) to study 22 live case clients drawn from 15 OSPs since 2007. We designed, tested, and used a questionnaire to explore dependent variables on (i) how actual values derived from claims in scenario planning literature were met and (ii) how purpose expectations compared with outcome. As engaged scholarship (Trist, Murray, and Trist 1990; Van de Ven 2007) that links theory and practice, our findings suggest the ‘impact’ of executive education and development can extend to the executives of a large number of organisations beyond the executives attending the programme and thereby extend the meaningfulness of business schools. Findings inform the literatures on (a) management education and (b) scenario planning.
There is growing interest among both private and public sectors to serve the underserved in emerging or developing countries leading to, what we call the market for frugal innovation. This paper is divided into two parts. First, we discuss the rhetoric surrounding frugal innovation and attempt to understand the discourse surrounding it as fad, fashion, or fit. Second, we seek to map the emergence of this market by suggesting drivers and the making of a social movement involving different actors pursuing both contentious and complementary approaches to achieve the same outcome, i.e. one of creating value for underserved populations. An understanding of how the rhetoric and market for frugal innovation has emerged will be useful in opening a research agenda. Consequently we cover opportunities and challenges to growth of the market as well as draw implications to academic theory and practice.
Innovation in emerging markets offers fertile ground for theory development. In recognition of the growing trend in “frugal innovation” discourse among practitioners particularly in emerging economies, we parse “frugal innovation” into "frugal" and "innovation" separately and present the underlying meanings towards understanding "frugal innovation" in historical and contemporary contexts. We further develop a theoretical model of frugal innovation by applying existing theories to emerging market contexts. We do so by merging technology innovation, institutional innovation, and social innovation literatures to argue that frugal innovation lies at the intersections of these streams. We show how using the model to understand what the space currently looks like may help to offer a consolidated and encompassing theory of frugal innovation and aid in opening a research agenda.
The impact of clusters on entrepreneurship has not been adequately and formally substantiated through empirical analysis. This dissertation looks at the effect of clusters on entrepreneurship at the regional level in the United Kingdom and a comparison is made with a similar study already carried out in Germany. A combination of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data with Eurostat, European Cluster Observatory, European Innovation Scoreboard, and the UK Office of National Statistics data is used on the UK’s 37 NUTS 2 EU structural fund assistance regions to test the hypotheses regarding entrepreneurship, clusters, and innovation. A logistic regression model result reinforced further by a Generalised Linear Latent and Mixed Model, and a random intercept logit model showed that there is a positive impact of clusters on entrepreneurship. Formalizing the relationship between clusters and entrepreneurship can help practitioners and policymakers to make informed choices, conduct better monitoring, and to make better forecast nascent clusters for potential success or failure in terms of propagating entrepreneurship.