Product Semantics & Design-driven Innovation in Meaning: The effect of…

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Design-driven innovation is a strategy where firms focus on radically changing the meaning of a product. Adopting design-driven innovation, designers use the three innovation levers of form, technology, and mode-of-use to facilitate four types of innovation: aesthetic innovation, innovation of use, meaning innovation, and typological innovation. This framework has the potential to extend to emergent smart products through particular focus on mode-of-use as its effect is evident connected, interactive products. Moreover, in the context of interactive products, the concept of mode-of-use has the potential to not only provide more effective use affordance, but also a means for aesthetic interaction. The current study explores the effect of aesthetic interaction in product semantics to examine whether aesthetic interaction can elicit change in meaning. To achieve these research aims, aesthetic interaction was defined through interaction styles, adopted to address psychological needs, vis-à-vis addressing users’ reflective level emotion. Among seven psychological needs, human needs for Stimulation and Competence were selected. Literature review was used to translate these into design requirements, which drove the design and prototyping of two interactive lamps. The two stimuli, along with an archetypal lamp product, were then used in an empirical study to examine semantic change. Results indicated the application of aesthetic interaction in interactive product design as significant in altering product meaning. The utilization of aesthetic interaction resulted in increased excitement and attractiveness. However, when aesthetic interaction was applied to provide competence, it was found the approach may stimulate feelings of playfulness and joy related to fidgeting. Results indicated a requirement to balance Stimulation and Competence with practical acceptability to provide increased feelings of innovativeness and desirability. Findings may serve as design guidelines for practitioners when attempting to leverage use innovation in pursuit of meaning change. Furthermore, results are expected to contribute to knowledge of both interaction design and innovation in highlighting issues around the design-driven innovation approach when applied to interactive, smart products.