About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2296-2306
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain

DESIGNERS AS BROKERS OF MEANINGFUL INNOVATION AND SOCIO-CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

M. Novoa

University of Western Sydney, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics (AUSTRALIA)
A lot has been written about artists and designers fate to lead society onto new levels of development and progress. Kandinsky proclaimed them at the top in a “dictatorship” of artistic and design “illuminate through consensus and taste”. A century later, Paula Antonelli (2009) mentioned designers are expected to become “the reference point for policy makers”, “the intellectuals of the future”, and “the culture generators”. These statements represent two of three challenges to modern designers for analysis in this paper. They are neither well trained on policy nor on cultural studies. The third test to consider is coming from design innovation and its management. As per Norman (2010), there is an increasing demand for designers to move on from acting by assumption and naïve psychology relating to human behavior onto informed knowledge management, appropriate design based research and theory. Norman and Verganti (2011) agree, both incremental and radical innovations depend on designers’ capacity to figure out complex projects through co-designed production and carrying meaning for their users. Consequentially they invite others to expand the still uncharted waters of design management and product meaning, the link and role for designers between technology and culture. This paper extends on their work by bringing to attention new circumstances for product meaning from areas of language, culture and creativity. First, an explanation and examples about products that may carry meaning however they may not be meaningful, as they do not reach a status of appropriate immersion and significance according to a socio-cultural context. Designers need to rethink their position to be key cultural intermediaries, gatekeepers of innovation and producers of symbolic goods and services for society. Second, the paper proposes traditional grouping of players on either side of the camp, production or consumption, is no longer sufficient. A new digital native generation is coming to age in an era of improved access to information such as MOOCs, open source and design. Co-design and production are already modifying to show end users participation in design and production as sign of a more democratic and pluralistic process. An indication of this change appeared in fine arts first, from Breton and his experiments on language and communication (Exquisite Corpse, 1928) to Happenings by Duchamp (1930), Kaprow (1959) and others. More recently, production of meaning can also be linked to user participatory architecture, design for social innovation, and bottom up innovation, flash mobs, hacking spaces, and open source design and maker culture. Third, the advance of digital technology is increasing carry-meaning alternatives. Today, typical industrial design products may become significant by their intangible component, experience and value instead of its materiality. Accordingly, educational institutions and industry will also have to change and accommodate their business models to a more diverse division of labor and production. Furthermore, the author proposes a meta-model based on an interconnected multi-modal organic evolutionary system that includes production and consumption, incremental and radical innovation. It would adapt to context and can also progress through radical random and/or directed mutation, modifying and leading socio-cultural change.
@InProceedings{NOVOA2014DES,
author = {Novoa, M.},
title = {DESIGNERS AS BROKERS OF MEANINGFUL INNOVATION AND SOCIO-CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {2296-2306}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Novoa
TI - DESIGNERS AS BROKERS OF MEANINGFUL INNOVATION AND SOCIO-CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 2296
EP - 2306
ER -
M. Novoa (2014) DESIGNERS AS BROKERS OF MEANINGFUL INNOVATION AND SOCIO-CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 2296-2306.
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