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A Law of Functional Expansion - Eliciting the Dynamics of Consumer Goods Innovation with Design Theory

Abstract : For more than two decades, mobile phone industry has shown that innovation is not only functional optimization and combination but can also be a "functional expansion". Sometimes called radical or disruptive innovation, this phenomenon leads to the development of new method for engineers and designers. However, the intensity remains undemonstrated: is functional expansion a rare phenomenon (few products during very short periods of time)-or is it an intense phenomenon, that even might have accelerated in the last decades? To answer these questions, the paper overcomes two main obstacles: how to measure functional expansion? And what would be a law of functional expansion, that would enable to test the importance and newness of the phenomena? Building on recent advances on the measurement of innovation and on new computational models of design derived from most advanced design theories, this paper presents unique data on functional expansion of 8 consumer products and tests that functional expansion significantly accelerated in the mid 1990s. The paper confirms quantitatively that our societies are now in a new design regime, a regime of innovative design.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 12:21:32 AM
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Pascal Le Masson, Kenza El Qaoumi, Armand Hatchuel, Benoit Weil. A Law of Functional Expansion - Eliciting the Dynamics of Consumer Goods Innovation with Design Theory. Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 1 (1), pp.1015-1024. ⟨10.1017/dsi.2019.107⟩. ⟨hal-02291543⟩



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