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This study examines the application of design led co-creation practices in new product development by startups at incubators. In recent times, organizations, globally, big or small, established or emerging are adopting design thinking methodology to harness the creative and innovative capability of their employees. As a consequence, research as well as practice on design thinking and design centric business practices has gained speed with companies like IDEO and its co-founder, David Kelly championing the cause. Owing to various recorded success stories, in developed economies, design thinking has garnered attention from scholars and practitioners alike; however, research on its usage as a strategic co - creation tool in the new product development process in practice in startup in emerging economies is limited. This research attempts to identify the elements of design thinking based practiced by startups for new product development and assess its importance and outcomes in managing innovations. To achieve this, aim the authors examined the new product development process used by startups operating at T-Hub, India's largest incubator for startups headquartered at Hyderabad, India. This paper adopts an exploratory case study approach to identify key elements of design thinking that are practiced by the startups. The main findings show that design thinking is effectively a support process, representing greater integration for success of startups, at both back end and front-end of innovation. Our study provides interesting implications for the startups, as well as, contributes to the debate of the impact of design thinking on innovation from an emerging economy perspective. Our study also contributes by capturing and presenting a conceptual design led co - creation model for startup incubators.

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