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Applying Design Thinking During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Higher Education



This paper describes an integrated Design Thinking approach with objectives, activities, tools, and relevant results that has been applied in academia in the past. Recently. the approach has been applied in teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research is based on case study methodology. The main findings are that it is possible to apply an integrated approach to Design Thinking in the context of a pandemic and working online that meets the needs of both higher education and the company. The paper offers an integrated approach to Design Thinking, two case studies in which this approach has been applied during a pandemic, and key success factors for the application.
This paper was presented at ISPIM Connects Global 2020: Celebrating the World of Innovation -
Virtual, 6-8 December 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-566-8
Applying Design Thinking During the COVID-19 Pandemic in
Higher Education
Daniel Schallmo*
University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm
Wileystrasse 1, 89231 Neu-Ulm, Germany
Christopher A. Williams
Johannes Kepler University
Altenbergerstrasse 69, 4040, Linz, Austria
Katharina Ehmig-Klassen
University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm
Wileystrasse 1, 89231 Neu-Ulm, Germany
Klaus Lang
University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm
Wileystrasse 1, 89231 Neu-Ulm, Germany
* Corresponding author
Abstract: This paper describes an integrated Design Thinking approach with
objectives, activities, tools, and relevant results that has been applied in
academia in the past. Recently. the approach has been applied in teaching
during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research is based on case study
methodology. The main findings are that it is possible to apply an integrated
approach to Design Thinking in the context of a pandemic and working online
that meets the needs of both higher education and the company. The paper
offers an integrated approach to Design Thinking, two case studies in which
this approach has been applied during a pandemic, and key success factors for
the application.
Keywords: Design Thinking; Case Studies; COVID-19; Distance Working.
1 Introduction
In 2018, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
introduced a report called the Conceptual Learning Framework with future skills relevant
for the 21st century (OECD, 2018). These future skills are separated into foundational
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
literacies, competencies, and character qualities. The competencies describe how students
approach complex challenges and include critical thinking/problem solving, creativity,
communication, and collaboration (OECD, 2018). Students practical skills are
increasingly relevant to companies. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced
educators to work with students online.
The question for educators is how to cultivate competencies such as problem solving,
creativity, communication, and collaboration and how to include practical requirements
in a coherent concept for academic education with special focus on working online
during a pandemic.
One didactic method that enables individuals and teams to learn while solving problems
and implementing actions is action learning. Within action learning, a coach guides an
individual or team to focus on problem-solving and reflecting (Cho 2013; Marquardt &
Banks 2010). Design Thinking is an alternative approach that enables individuals and
teams to be creative, to communicate and to collaborate. Based on existing definitions
(e.g. Plattner et al., 2009; Erbeldinger et al. 2015; Mootee, 2013; Curedale, 2013; Ideo,
2012), we define Design Thinking as a creative problem-solving approach that pursues
the objective of developing novel solutions for existing stakeholders problems. These
solutions are consistently oriented towards the needs of users and have a positive
influence on a user-defined problem. The Design Thinking process is both structured and
iterative. Design Thinking involves a predetermined process, and multidisciplinary teams
use various techniques.
The main findings reveal that it is possible to apply an integrated approach to Design
Thinking during a pandemic that meets the needs of both higher education and the
company. Our approach consists of the following seven phases: (1) Defining Design
Challenge, (2) Understanding Design Challenge, (3) Defining Perspectives, (4) Gaining
Ideas, (5) Developing Prototypes, (6) Testing Prototypes, (7) Integrating Prototypes. We
applied our approach during the COVID-19 pandemic within two cases studies,
combining Design Challenges from companies that were solved with students within
higher education institutes.
2 Theoretical Background
In the following section, we describe the theoretical background of Design Thinking
(Schallmo et al., 2018).
Basic Principles
Design Thinking is characterized by four basic principles: (1) human needs as a starting
point, (2) multidisciplinary teams, (3) iterative process, and (4) creative environment.
Humans as a starting point
Within Design Thinking, people are the source of inspiration for new ideas. Humans and
their needs are at the forefront. Once the requirements have been determined, the next
step is to check which products and services are technically feasible. Based on this
feasibility, it is checked which solutions are economical. Since a fundamental orientation
towards people and their needs takes place, initially, less extensive marketing is
necessary, and, secondly, the flop rate of new products and services is lower (Weinberg,
2012; d. school, 2010; Plattner et al., 2009.; Brown, 2008).
Multidisciplinary Teams
The second principle is the use of multidisciplinary teams. The focus here is not on the
individuals creative capabilities but on the interdisciplinary teams creative capabilities
with four to six participants. Scholars and practitioners must ensure that 50% of the teams
constitute a heterogeneous mixture of demographics. The participants disciplines should
also be equally represented (Weinberg, 2012; Plattner et al., 2009; d. school, 2010;
Brown, 2008).
Each member of a multidisciplinary team is called a design thinker. The personal
characteristics of a design thinker play a major role and are explained below (Plattner et
al., 2009).
Optimism: Design thinkers should be optimistic about their ability to develop
better solutions with Design Thinking. Optimism is common and coupled with
Empathy: Design thinkers should have a high degree of empathy to see the
world through the eyes of users and understand their perception and sensations.
Furthermore, the reasons for a certain perception should be analyzed to identify
users unfulfilled wishes and needs.
Integrative Thinking: Design thinkers should be able to analyze products,
processes, and systems holistically to detect both obvious and hidden defects. In
addition, it is necessary either to select the best solution from existing solutions,
to develop new solutions or to change existing solutions in such a way that
better results are achieved.
Experimentation: Design thinkers should enjoy trying new things, gaining
experience, and taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them.
Assumptions should also be made and tested.
Cooperation capability: Design thinkers should be cooperative because complex
problems require joint work on solutions. The joint work with people from other
disciplines is also relevant here.
Iterative process
Due to the use of multidisciplinary teams, all participants have different preferred
working styles based on their training and experience. For this reason, it is necessary to
provide a process that combines analysis with intuition and that is understandable for all
participants. Iterations are possible within the process to improve the solutions.
In addition to the iteration of the process, it is characterized by a variety of divergent and
convergent ways of thinking. In the first three phases, a broad field of vision is
imperative (divergent) to gain a lot of input and concentrate on a few perspectives at the
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
end of the third phase. Ideas for solutions are then generated, and prototypes are
developed (divergent) to focus on one selected prototype. After testing the selected
prototype, the prototype is integrated into a business model (convergent). Furthermore,
the Design Thinking process leads to ever more concrete results, represented by the
yellow line (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011; Ideo, 2012).
In some phases of the Design Thinking process, brainstorming is used, for which certain
rules are relevant (Ideo, 2012; d. school, 2010):
Visualize: Problems, ideas, and solution approach are to be visualized by means
of sketches.
Only one speaks: Only one design thinker speaks at a time as all ideas should be
Promote ideas: Unusual ideas should be promoted, even if they initially appear
Postpone critique: There are no bad ideas, and there is enough time to elaborate
on them.
Experiment: Experiment throughout the process to develop further ideas and
identify weaknesses.
Track activity: Activity in the form of actions is relevant.
Quantity is important: To find a good idea, many ideas have to be put forth.
Focus: All team members should stick to the topic and not lose sight of the main
Building on ideas: Derived ideas should be further developed; better "and" than
Turn off electronic devices: All team members participate and focus on the
Creative Environment
The described process takes place in a creative environment that is characterized by an
idea-promoting division and institution.
In addition to the work environment shown, rooms for workshops can be redesigned to
support creative work. In addition, materials that can be used in the Design Thinking
process are also relevant.
3 Research Questions and Design
Our research aims to describe an integrated Design Thinking approach with objectives,
activities, tools, and relevant results that can be applied in academia with special focus on
teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on this, we also aim to describe relevant
cases studies in which the Design Thinking approach is applied in academia, combining
companies Design Challenges.
Research questions
Based on these research objectives, we attempt to answer the following main research
What does an integrated approach to Design Thinking look like?
How can we describe case studies with special focus on applying the approach
during the COVID-19 pandemic?
What are success factors for the application of the approach during the COVID-
19 pandemic?
Our contribution is significant to demonstrate an approach for applied Design Thinking in
academia and to reveal insights from case studies.
Research Design
In our research, we applied literature review to gain insight into Design Thinking.
Besides the literature review, we applied a case study methodology. Case studies allow
researchers to describe and analyze relevant cases such that, ultimately, grounded
theories can be generated (Benbasat et al., 1987; Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 1994; Stake,
1995; Kromrey, 2013). We describe two case studies in which we applied Design
Thinking in higher education integrating companies Design Challenges. The case studies
include companies with consumer products and social services. We describe the two
cases with the following primary and secondary sources: (1) a brief company profile
based on internal company documents, (2) an explanation of the relevant areas that have
been defined, (3) some personal accounts from selected participants (lecturer, company
representatives, students) and key results.
4 Integrated Approach for Design Thinking
In the following section, we describe an integrated approach that consists of a roadmap
with phases and actions (Schallmo et al., 2018).
A roadmap is given here based on the presented approaches to Design Thinking and
existing theories about Design Thinking. The roadmap for Design Thinking is explained
as follows:
Defining Design Challenge: First, it is necessary to derive different subject
areas. The different subject areas are discussed to then commit oneself to one
subject area. A Design Challenge is formulated for the selected area, which is to
be answered. Typical users are also defined. Subsequently, a project plan is
drawn up, which includes deadlines, costs, and results.
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
Figure 1 represents the roadmap for Design Thinking with the various phases and
Figure 1 Roadmap for Design Thinking
Understanding Design Challenge: In this phase, it is important to build a
common understanding of the Design Challenge to be accomplished. For this
purpose, typical users are analyzed in relevant situations and with the problems
they must cope with. This analysis is performed using a survey and observation.
Existing solutions available on the market are tested, and experts are interviewed
to build expertise on the Design Challenge.
Defining Perspectives: In this phase, all relevant knowledge is summarized, and
typical user profiles are created. Also, user needs are derived. The result are user
empathy map, user journey and user needs.
Gaining Ideas: In this phase, ideas are gained using creativity techniques
intended to meet the previously identified needs. These ideas are grouped and
revised, then described and evaluated.
Developing Prototypes: The ideas gained serve to develop prototypes. A
prototype thus represents a solution to the challenge described. Prototypes can
be developed in different forms. Following the development of prototypes, these
prototypes are improved and combined.
Testing Prototypes: The different prototypes are presented to the users and then
tested with them. The aim is to gain important experience with the use of
prototypes. Prototypes are also tested in the market. The experience gained is
then used to improve and further develop the prototypes. Based on the
evaluation of the prototypes, a promising prototype is selected.
Integrating Prototypes: In this phase, a uniform grid is used to develop a
business model that integrates the prototype for a product or service. Thus, a
business model with the following five dimensions is available: customer, user,
value-added, partner, financial.
5 Cases for the Application of the Approach in a Pandemic
The case studies include one company for consumer products (Landmann) and one
institution for social services (illerSENIO).
The first case is LANDMANN, a producer and distributor for high-quality barbecues and
related accessories. The company was founded in Osterholz-Scharmbeck near Bremen to
bring barbecuing to the German market. Around 200 LANDMANN employees in 35
countries on five continents are committed to creating future-oriented barbecue products
and sustainable growth for the company. Seven areas for Design Challenges have been
identified to increase the product attractiveness through a corresponding adaptation of the
UX Design and the use of digital potential in the B2B and B2C area. The Design
Challenges are related to the optimization of customer communication, new solutions for
the strategic use of customer information to improve products, and services, particularly
with regard to customer focus.
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
In a hybrid event format, the 37 undergraduate students from different courses of study at
HNU (University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm) worked on the seven areas. The
students were supervised by one lecturer from HNU, one company representative and
three research assistants from HNU.
The Managing Director of LANDMANN explains, “I knew the Design Thinking method
from theory [and] when the topic of corporate transformation became topical for
LANDMANN, I wanted to use the potential of this promising concept in practice. My
management colleague and I quickly agreed to work with the HNU on this project. We
worked out the key questions in close cooperation with our Marketing, Product
Management, and Sales departments.
The seven interdisciplinary teams worked on the Design Challenges in the same building
via video conference. The lecturer explained that, due to the special situation, we
divided the event into three rooms and chose a hybrid format, a mix of face-to-face and
online teaching.
The solutions developed include various event concepts to be able to address customers
in a more targeted manner in the future and put them at the center of the company.
Shareconomy approachesfor example, through decentralized leasing of the grills
were also developed. Since the Design Thinking method also provides for the creation of
prototypes, the participants designed and built both mock-ups for innovative apps and
classic, haptic models made from a wide variety of materials.
The company was connected via livestream during the workshop when the teams
presented their results. The concepts are now being picked up by LANDMANN and
further developed in the management team. The Managing Director of LANDMANN
stated, “We were delighted at how surprisingly creative the unencumbered students were
with the challenging questions and what innovative concepts the teams came up with. For
us, the project proves that the Design Thinking method can quickly make valuable
contributions to topics as complex as business model innovation.
In addition to an expansion of methodological skills in Design Thinking and presentation
skills, the students particularly benefited from the fail-fast principle, which makes it
possible to quickly identify and correct errors. They also found the intensive and
interdisciplinary teamwork enriching. Applying the Design Thinking process to a
practical case showed how much creativity can be found in a team within a very short
time. Organizing and acting quickly were also promoted by one or the other situation,
which will definitely be helpful in the further course of studies and in the world of work,
summarized one of the students. Another student confirmed, “The week was very varied
and exciting. The whole process - from the problem to developing a solution and
improving a prototype - was very interesting. Likewise, working together in a team and
discussing individual topics together.
The second case is the Caritas Association, which started more than 50 years ago in
Vöhringen as a pioneer in care for the elderly. The Caritas Association Illertissen with
around 500 employees and its two brands, illerSENIO and illerGASTRO, is a permanent
part of the care landscape in the Ulm/Neu-Ulm region. Two nursing homes, six day-care
facilities and five social stations form the basis for many supplementary services relating
to aging and senior living. Here, too, the Caritas Association has meanwhile become a
regional innovator in the conception and realization of residential areas especially for
senior citizens.
The following areas were relevant for outpatient care: “Digitization in the care
landscape, Consultations in outpatient care, Training quota in nursing, Personnel
recruitment in times of a shortage of skilled workers and Cross-generational
management culture.
In five virtual teams, the students worked on the five mentioned areas. The students were
supervised by two lecturers and one company representative. “An open eye for the actual
needs of those in need of care and their relatives and the creative methodology led to new
problem solutions for the very specific care situations. A real enrichment and a great
performance by the students! claimed one of the lecturers.
The solutions developed include a social media concept, including patterns for attracting
new trainees; an innovative and integrative trial work concept for future specialists; an
approach to compiling care services for those in need of care and their relatives; a
concept for the targeted processing of concerns from employees; and a concept for a
laboratory to test new technologies and products with people in need of care and
illerSENIOs project manager considers the project with the Neu-Ulm University of
Applied Sciences a success: I am still fascinated by how the students managed to do it
within just a few days - to work out such valuable and practical results. We are very
happy about innovative and modern solutions for our customers and our colleagues in
All solution models were presented to those involved with illerSENIO, who could then
ask questions. Due to the pandemic situation, the event was held 100 percent online. The
specialty for us was to ensure smooth communication and cooperation between all those
involved; I am very pleased with the commitment of the students as well as the solutions
that have been developed, stated one of the lecturers.
“Working in an interdisciplinary team with students from the healthcare sector has not
only enormously enriched my knowledge in this area but also showed me how much one
can benefit from one another in mixed teams. We all started the week with completely
different prior knowledge and almost finished it as experts. Design Thinking was the
ideal method for combining the skills available in the team and integrating them
optimally into our results,” summarized one student.
6 Success Factors
Based on our integrated approach, the described cases, and our observations during the
application of the approach, we derive the following success factors. These success
factors are valid for the application of our Design Thinking approach in an online format;
most of the success factors are also valid for the application of the approach in a normal
face-to-face setting.
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
Long-term planning: Set appointments in advance (distributed over several
weeks with 23 hours per appointment or as a compact multi-day format with
several breakout sessions and breaks).
Application of proper tools: Test and select tools; in addition to the tools
available to universities (e.g., Moodle), it is also helpful to selectively use
external tools to provide materials, interact with students in a stable and
uncomplicated manner, and enable students to interact with each other (e.g., for
students virtual group work).
Appropriate communication: Prepare messages and briefings for students
(welcome, information about the process and the tools, etc.); as you can
imagine, the pure e-learning format is relatively new for most students, and,
furthermore, the situation regarding COVID-19 and its associated effects is
unfamiliar, which can cause uncertainty for some students. It is therefore
important to address possible concerns, to create a positive mood, and to invite
students to master the situation together.
Suitable pre-readings and materials for self-study: Readings and materials for
self-study include, e.g., scientific papers, excerpts from e-books, technical
articles, and videos (own, YouTube, etc.).
Suitable queries during the webinar: Queries during the webinar help to
stimulate discussion; if necessary, the chat and interactive tools can be utilized.
Individual tasks: Individual tasks are for follow-up on the substance, if
necessary, and as work for an individual project report that can serve as proof of
Group tasks and templates: Group tasks and templates help to work on a case
study in a (virtual) team and possibly also serve as work for a group project
report that can serve as proof of performance.
Clear instructions of the group project report: Group work project report should
include clear instructions on how the project report should be structured, scope,
Presentation and handout: The detailed presentation (uplifting, interactive,
images) is used within the webinar, and a handout is provided as a shortened
version of the presentation. The presentation for the first webinar provides an
explanation of the most important features and rules of a webinar (e.g.,
switching on the camera, switching off the microphone, etc.).
Suitable teambuilding: Teambuilding is based on personalities, and a clear
definition of roles within a team is provided (e.g. timekeeper, documenter, task
Clearly defined Design Challenges: The Design Challenges given by the
company partner (e.g., company, institution) have to be defined very clearly to
make it easier for students to work on the project.
Support: The students should be given proper support from the practical partner
and the lecturers during the complete application of the Design Thinking
7 Contribution
Our research delivers insights on Design Thinking applied in higher education and
combined with company challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. An integrated
approach with seven phases, objectives, activities, tools, and relevant results is
introduced. We describe the application of the approach within two case studies during
the COVID-19 pandemic using standardized criteria. We also focus on key success
factors for the application of the approach during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., team
building via the DISC-Model, communication, transparent statement of Design
Challenges, etc.). This fills an existing research gap regarding combining Design
Thinking in higher education and company challenges.
8 Practical Implications
Senior managers, business developers and lecturers will gain insights on how practical
challenges can be solved in cooperation with academia. The seven-step roadmap enables
companies to take advantage of Design Thinkings potential, and, by applying the
roadmap in cooperation with academia, companies can optimize their current solutions
and create a distinct competitive advantage by gaining new ideas at a lower risk and
within a shorter time to the market.
9 Limitations
This paper aims to report the results of our research applying Design Thinking in
academia during the COVID-19 pandemic working mainly online. The reader should
bear in mind that, due to practical constraints, the results may not be generalizable.
Furthermore, some aspects (e.g., application in other industries, consideration of cultural
aspects) require further investigation. Therefore, we recommend applying the approach
more broadly and generating and describing more case studies with companies and
10 Recommendations for Further Research
Further research regarding the application of the approach in academia and in
combination with practical challenges would be beneficial. For example, it would be
interesting to create a knowledge-building community where researchers and
practitioners can compare experiences gained from the application of Design Thinking
within academia. Lastly, future studies should provide quantifiable results.
This paper was presented at The ISPIM Innovation Conference Innovating in Times of Crisis,
7-10 June 2020.
Event Proceedings: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: ISBN 978-952-335-466-1
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Action learning's central insight is that it is possible to develop organizational members' competencies in the process of solving real, difficult organizational issues. Despite considerable interest and practice in action learning, human resource development has had difficulty in identifying distinctive features of action learning for research and practice. To clarify the nature of action learning, this article relies on recent reviews of action learning research and the author's own experience in action learning practice. Additionally, this article will provide information on the fundamentals and importance of action learning. Included are core components of action learning (teams, problems, competencies, questioning/reflection/feedback, and learning coaches), two types of action learning (team-projects and individual-projects), and the action learning process (preparation, team meetings, and follow-up activities) from a practice perspective. Also included are critical related issues (the balancing act of action and learning, importance of context, and assessment of current research) and research agendas (continued research on the balance issue, key success factors of action learning, and comparison of three team learning approaches) for further investigation from a research perspective.
Digitalisierung und digitale Transformation sind nicht nur ein Thema der Medien, sondern finden auch real in den Unternehmen statt. Der digitale Wandel tangiert die unterschiedlichsten Felder, von der Beschaffung bis zum Vertrieb und von der Organisation bis zur Strategie­entwicklung. Diese Aufgabe erfordert das Engagement jeder Unternehmensleitung und lässt sich nicht einfach delegieren. Dieses Buch will Managern und Unternehmern helfen, in ihrer Organisation Strukturen aufzusetzen, die es erlauben, die digitale Transformation systematisch anzugehen. Das Themen­spektrum reicht dabei von der Konfiguration von Digita­lisierungsstrategien über neue Managementrollen wie die eines Chief Digital Officers bis hin zur Bedeutung von IT-Infrastrukturen, dem HR-Mana­ge­ment und der Unternehmenskultur als „Enabler“ des digitalen Wandels. Als Orientierungsrahmen dient ein einfaches Framework, das die Manage­mentaufgaben strukturiert und die verschiedenen Konzepte und Instrumente übersichtlich zusammenfasst. „Prof. Thomas Hess gibt einen konkreten Überblick über viele wichtige Aspekte, die bei der digitalen Transformation von Unternehmen zu beachten sind. Klar lesenswert.“ Stefan Winners, Vorstand Digital bei Hubert Burda Media „Beyond the buzzword - Endlich schafft es jemand, das Chaos um die digitale Transformation systematisch zu entwirren. Thomas Hess stellt mit seinem Buch wahrlich die Leitplanken für das Management digitaler Transformationsprojekte auf. Während andere viel versprechen und wenig halten, gibt Thomas Hess dem Leser vielmehr einen Gestaltungsrahmen als ein Patentrezept mit.“ Dr. Christoph Steiger, ehem. Vorstandsmitglied und CDO der Hoffmann Group „Deutlich mehr als ein weiteres Buch zum Thema digitale Transformation! Mit spannenden Einblicken aus Wissenschaft und Praxis liefert Thomas Hess einen Werkzeugkasten für die digitale Transformation. Relevant für die Wirtschaft und relevante Forscher.“ Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hubert Österle, Universität St. Gallen Der Autor Prof. Dr. Thomas Hess ist Direktor des Instituts für Wirtschaftsinformatik und Neue Medien der LMU München. Er beschäftigt sich seit über 20 Jahren mit dem digitalen Wandel von Unternehmen. Dazu hat er eine in Europa führende Forschungsgruppe aufgebaut, die über das Internet Business Cluster München, den Münchner Kreis und die Netvolution GmbH als Spin-off des Instituts stark mit der unternehmerischen Praxis verbunden ist.
- This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.