Designing for imperfection: An inquiry into how a participatory design thinking process can support a social entrepreneurial initiative in counteracting perfectionism amongst young women

Anne Bach Stensgaard & Ida Lydholm Nymand

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis investigates how design approaches for social innovation can support social entrepreneurship in solving the complex social problem of rising perfectionism amongst young women. To do this, the authors firstly create a genealogic narrative of discourses of perfection and imperfection amongst young Danish women as constructed by various actors in different spheres of Danish society. Secondly, the authors develop and conduct a participatory design thinking process for the Danish podcast Fries Before Guys, a social entrepreneurial initiative. The podcast is said to actively support the imperfection discourse by emphasizing the inherent worth of young women independent of their achievements or appearances. In the participatory design thinking process with the podcasts and a group of their listeners, new formats for the podcast are developed, focusing on enhancing interaction and community. Thirdly, adopting a relational constructionist view of opportunity formation, the authors show how the design process can be understood as an opportunity formation process in which ideas, needs and value were relationally and communally created. Based on the creation of needs, the thesis stresses the ethical responsibility of designers, entrepreneurs and inquirers as they, through their work towards social change, actively engage in the discourses of perfection and imperfection. It is suggested that design processes can support social entrepreneurship through the development of new ideas, and also by becoming processes of social value creation. Finally, practical and theoretical contributions of assuming a relational constructions view are developed, as well as a suggestion for future inquiry.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages135