Pathways to Innovation: Exploring Sharing Practices in Established Social Networks

By Christine Miller and Crysta Metcalf.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The exchange of information, goods, and services has long been acknowledged as a key component of social life. Social sharing behaviors – sharing of information and content- are fundamental practices within established social networks. This paper describes how social exchange theory and grounded theory methodology were used to inform the research design and analysis of data collected during a six month study of sharing among close established social networks (i.e., family and friends). An overview of theory, process, and methods used in this exploratory study explains how analysis based in grounded theory was applied in a cross-functional team setting. Insights prompted design ideas that led to the development of ambient and content enriched communications applications.

Keywords: Ethnography, Social Exchange Theory, User-centered Design, Innovation

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.355-364. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.128MB).

Dr. Christine Miller

Professor, Design Management, School of Design, Industrial Design Dept., Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, USA

Christine Miller is an interdisciplinary scholar who holds a M.A. from Goddard College and a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Management from Wayne State University. Her dissertation research incorporates an ethnographic study of the role of culture in mediating the relationship between formalization and innovation within the product development division of a Tier One automotive supplier. Chris’s research interests include how sociality and culture influence the design of new products and technologies. Her exploration of the human-computer interface in relation to technology-mediated communication within group, team and network situations has developed through working in and with organizations. Chris is currently a Professor of Design Management at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and serves as Secretary for the National Association of Practicing Anthropologists (NAPA), a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Crysta Metcalf

Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Applied Research and Technology Center, Motorola Applied Research and Technology Center, USA

Crysta Metcalf is a classically trained anthropologist who received her B.A. in anthropology from the University of South Florida in 1988 and her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1999. She has worked in applied research at Motorola since 2000, on a variety of projects utilizing team-based, transdisciplinary theory and methods for innovation in media and communication technologies. She regularly publishes and speaks about the use of rigorous research techniques as part of the invention process. She is currently leading the Transforming TV Experiences research area for the Applications Experience Lab in the Applications and Software Research Center (ASRC).


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