The design of inquiry for Business Growth

John Paul Kawalek


This paper is concerned with the design of ‘business growth programmes’, i.e. specifically designed learning programmes with explicitly stated goals of promoting and impacting on business growth. This paper is based on research into the design considerations of growth programmes in 3 European countries. It is the result of a two year European research study funded from the European Commission.  With this as context, using Systems Thinking we re-theorise the role of design itself as it applies to business growth programmes. This is achieved by re-tracing some of the most fundamental systems ideas back to Kant’s critique of practical reason. The paper draws out several implications, (i) to demonstrate the application of a new set of principles which are designed to simultaneously help to develop and evaluate future business growth programmes; (ii) these principles also can help explain the tendency towards sub-optimal growth programmes in current practice; and (iii) to re-consider the policy priorities and assumptions for supporting business growth programmes in future.


Systems Thinking, Methodology, Business Growth, Learning Programmes, Inquiry, Design Research, Practical Reasoning

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