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Biography & Abstract
Stina Teilmann-Lock

Stina is Associate Professor and Director of the Governance, Culture & Learning Unit at CBS, Department of Business Humanities and Law. She works on creativity, design thinking and property rights and runs the master’s program ‘Strategic Design Entrepreneurship’.

Anchoring new institutions to incumbents for institutional complementarity: The establishment of the Danish Design Board

This paper examines the establishment of the Design Board (“DesignNævnet” in Danish) in Denmark (henceforth DB) as a successful project of institutional entrepreneurship—the activities of actors who have an interest in particular institutional arrangements and who leverage resources to create new institutions or to transform existing ones. Launched in February 2022, the DB serves as an arbitration body handling disputes over design rights, design copyright and Marketing Acts infringements. We showcase the DB as a new institution that arises to enhance institutional complementarity by addressing adoption problems of the incumbents, while preserving the existing institutional arrangements in the field. We argue that this institutional complementarity is achieved through a process of anchoring institutional entrepreneurship, where the new institution's design closely mirrors the established one. In particular, the DB adopts similar structures and processes to the legal system, the primary incumbent institution for resolving copyright infringement disputes, while addressing the legal system’s shortcomings such as the burdens of financial and time costs. This complementary approach has enabled the DB to gain the support of a diverse range of actors within the field, including the legal community which could potentially perceive it as a competition or threat. Our paper explores the motivations behind anchoring institutional entrepreneurship and the circumstances under which such anchoring occurs. For this, we introduce an affordance model for evaluating institutions to assess the adoption of institutions rather than their purposes as the source of needs for a new institution, highlighting how the adoption of extant institutions leads to the needs for new entities. We specifically focus on the DB’s role in reducing uncertainty. By anchoring to the legal system—adopting the structure and procedure that closely resemble those of the legal resolution of disputes—the DB yields legally binding effects as its decisions will be held in court if the disputing parties seek legal actions. In addition, the DB offers this arbitration at a significantly lower cost and unambiguous timeframe. As a result, it provides predictability, if not certainty, in both cost and outcomes, while maintaining the function of the incumbent institution.

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