Design strategies for the exploration of product meaning in meaning-driven innovation
thesisposted on 01.07.2019, 08:39 authored by Daniel Kraszewski
Design has been framed as a driver of innovation through product meaning, but it falls short when it comes to dedicated knowledge and methods directly applicable into design practices. Structured by Design Research Methodology (DRM) (Blessing and Chakrabarti 2009), this thesis combines exploratory research with practice-based design research. This thesis presents a literature review covering design studies, psychology, cognitive semantics, linguistics, marketing, innovation management and new product development. Together combined these have been used to develop a new framework of ‘product meaning’ consisting of 4 definitions: meaning as conceptualisation, as importance, as intention, and as representation. The framework has been used to demonstrate that different types of meaning are utilised throughout different stages of product development. Meaning as conceptualisation is identified as fundamental, and the most suitable, for design practice engaged in product meaning innovation. Three strategies of innovation of product meaning through product re-purposing are identified. Furthermore, from the field of cognitive science, theories and methods such as concept categorisation, thematic roles and conceptual blending are used as analysis tools for the selected 6 examples of innovative new meaning products. The structure of meaning innovations has been identified to consist of seven distinctive elements. Ten common characteristics of new meaning innovations are identified and, additionally, an exploratory method of current meanings of products is presented. Moreover, through engagement in practice-based design research a new meaning-driven design process has been developed. The findings from this research have been combined into a new design platform for an approach to meaning innovation and evaluated with experienced designers.