Shifting Design Consultancy Identities

Henry Larsen, Nina Huijboom, Anne Holm Nielsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Knowledge-intensive business services, such as design consultancies are perceived as key drivers for innovation and competitiveness. However, many designers create their own companies, which often remain as one-man companies. By interviewing designers who own small design firms we found patterns and identities that resonate more with freelancing and portfolio careers than with the intention of creating firms that are intended to expand. We recognized a pattern where freelancers build up their work as a portfolio by moving from one engagement to another, a process that we will call sequential freelancing. This paper aims to understand the emergence of such identities amongst designers and we suggest that instead of focusing on their individual firms as entities of growth, other strategies such as networking might be more fruitful. If this approach was adopted, we believe that those local authorities who focus on design for innovation as a strategy for growth might well benefit if they understand that other companies in their municipality can grow if they actively support designers and help them develop their networking capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th Continuous Innovation Conference Proceedings
Number of pages10
PublisherContinuous Innovation Network
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-77360-17-0
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event15th INternational CINet Conference: Operating Innovation - Innovating Operations - Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 7. Sept 20149. Sept 2014
Conference number: 15


Conference15th INternational CINet Conference
LocationCorvinus University
Internet address

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