Perceptions of industrial design: the "means" and the "ends"

Pietro Micheli, Joe Jaina, Keith Goffin, Fred Lemke, Roberto Verganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is widely accepted that industrial design can play an important role in the development of innovative products, but integrating design-thinking into new product development (NPD) is a challenge. This is because industrial designers have very different perspectives and goals than the other members of the NPD team, and this can lead to tensions. It has been postulated that the communications between NPD managers and industrial designers are made more difficult because each group uses very different language. This research made the first empirical investigation of the language used by designers and managers in describing “good” and “poor” industrial design. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 19 managers and industrial designers at five leading companies. Multiple sources of data were utilized, including the repertory grid technique to elicit the key attributes of design, from the perspective of managers and designers. Using a robust, systematic coding approach to maximize the validity and reliability of qualitative data analysis, it was established that managers and industrial designers do not use a completely different vocabulary as previously supposed. Rather, it was found that managers and industrial designers use some common terms augmented by additional terms that are specific to each group: managers are commercially orientated in the “ends” they want to achieve and designers perceive more antecedents (“means”) necessary to achieve their “ends”—iconic design. This research led to a grounded conceptual model of the role of design, as perceived by managers and industrial designers. The implications of the results achieved are wide: they indicate how managers and designers can interact more productively during NPD; they highlight the need for more research on the language of designers and managers; and they point to issues that need to be covered in the education of industrial designers. Finally, this work suggests how managers and designers can engage in a more fruitful dialogue that will help to make NPD more productive.
LanguageEnglish
Pages687-704
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date4 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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Product design
Managers
Product development
Industrial design
Education
New product development
Communication

Keywords

  • repertory grid technique
  • innovation
  • design
  • NPD

Cite this

Micheli, Pietro ; Jaina, Joe ; Goffin, Keith ; Lemke, Fred ; Verganti, Roberto. / Perceptions of industrial design : the "means" and the "ends". In: Journal of Product Innovation Management. 2012 ; Vol. 29, No. 5. pp. 687-704.
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Perceptions of industrial design : the "means" and the "ends". / Micheli, Pietro; Jaina, Joe; Goffin, Keith; Lemke, Fred; Verganti, Roberto.

In: Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 29, No. 5, 09.2012, p. 687-704.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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