A Law Of Functional Expansion - Eliciting The Dynamics Of Consumer Goods Innovation With Design Theory

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Le Masson, Pascal; El Qaoumi, Kenza; Hatchuel, Armand; Weil, Benoit
Series: ICED
Institution: MINES ParisTech-PSL
Section: Design management
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.107
ISSN: 2220-4342


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.

Keywords: Design theory, Innovation, Functional expansion, Technology


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.