Business kills Creativity or Creativity kills Business

“Business kills Creativity – or Creativity kills Business”

Project Summary

Traditionally, entrepreneurial companies (SME’s) often run into the dilemma of how to ensure growth while still being creative, innovative and entrepreneurial at heart. This schism can also be interpreted as the dilemma of survival or growth, i.e. choosing to stay a micro-firm and turning it into a lifestyle of pursuing your creative desires, at the ‘cost’ of growth and a solid bottom-line in the black. Our research interest thus orients to mapping the worldview and challenges of such an entrepreneur using KUNZ as a pilot project. For this purpose we draw on (at least) four distinct research fields, i.e. entrepreneurial theories, innovation management theories, discourse analysis and micro-analytic studies.

Type of Data and Duration

Data video-recordings and ethnographic field studies from JUSTIAN KUNZ, a local entrepreneurial one-man fashion company in Kolding,
Duration From February 2013 and on-going. New data accessible on an ad-hoc basis: written material, interviews, more video.



  • 85,000 people are employed in the creative professions
  • 6% of the total number of enterprises
  • 7% of Denmark’s total exports
  • create value worth DKK 49.1 billion
  • fashion industry has the highest turnover (increased its turnover from DKK 35 billion to DKK 45 billion from 2001 to 2009)


  • Vision: by 2016, Denmark will have the strongest growth environment for creative businesses in Europe and will be a global centre of excellence for architecture, design and fashion
  • The principles for the business-policy objectives in this area are: greater focus on       enterprises with growth potential; consolidated growth through partnerships;  higher critical mass in the effort; increased international outlook.\n\n(Source: Danish Business Authority,

Future prospects/aim

“KUNZ” as a pilot study may potentially pave the way for a cross-disciplinary application for a larger study of growth in micro-firms in the (European?) creative (fashion and lifestyle) industries.

Project participants

Jeanette Landgrebe (IDK, Department of Design and Communication)

Susanne Jensen (DER, Department for Entrepreneurship and Relationship management)

Henrik Sproedt (MCI, Mads Clausen Institute)

Open project

This cross-disciplinary research project is a longitudinal project and open to other researchers interested in the entrepreneurial field.


  1. Creativity kills business or business kills creativity. This is a conceptual paper, which discusses entrepreneurial theories and models, and in doing so sets the scene for an entrepreneur’s challenges at large, as seen through the lenses of – and experienced by – a local entrepreneur in the creative industry – the KUNZ case.
  2. The entrepreneurial design firm as an ‘Italian family business’. This paper is an exploratory multi-case study.
    New ventures most often struggle to survive the first demanding years after start-up. Many entrepreneurs do not survive due to a number of reasons where sustainable access to financial, human and social resources in interaction with market conditions, may play very influential roles. In this paper, we investigate how different qualities of relations, e.g. family-like or more functional, affect the entrepreneur’s opportunities for value creation and growth.
    Poster as PDF
  3. I said sit!” – Can you train your entrepreneur? This paper discusses to which extent the RIS community is geared to cope with the highly creative entrepreneur.


Jeanette Landgrebe (IDK, Department of Design and Communication)

Susanne Jensen (DER, Department for Entrepreneurship and Relationship management)

Henrik Sproedt (MCI, Mads Clausen Institute)