Purpose: This paper aims at explaining the design process of a learning model targeting potential entrepreneurs with no technical or business expertise aiming to develop sustainable business models in deprived areas. The case that the paper explores focuses on experiential learning and learning in adulthood to design a learning model that considers context and socio-demographic characteristics, makes clear the interconnections between sustainability principles, entrepreneurship rationale and design methodologies and includes actions and processes of reflection and contextual interaction. Design/methodology/approach: Following a recursive argument, the paper applies design research methodology (DRM) to systematically design the “transformative innovation model” that Product Co Creation Centers (PC3) from the University of Twente (The Netherlands) has developed. Findings: Building on Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning, the result of applying DRM is a learning cycle of confrontation, observation, practice and application. The proposed learning model is applied to a specific setting in Colombia, allowing to verify and validate whether the learning model leads to the expected outcomes. It is argued that an interdisciplinary approach, a focus on feedback loops and the consideration of the context are important elements for addressing and transforming complex problems related to sustainable development from the bottom-up. Originality/value: This paper contributes to academic research in management emphasizing a solution-finding approach based on a prescription-driven research process, informed by design science research.
- Entrepreneurship and small business management
- Feedback loops
- Solution-oriented research
- Transformative learning
- Design research methods