Crowd Sourced Product Design: A Focus Group Study

By Fátima Lanhoso Vieira, Fábio Nunes and Denis A. Coelho.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 10th, 2014 $US5.00

The advent of powerful cloud-computing and world-wide collaboration enablers supported on the Internet has promoted the emergence of a new form of organization of product development processes and a major shift in the dominant paradigm associated with mainstream product development practices. This shift, which is taking place at growing speeds, entails the transformation of small, designer-centered product development processes to an explosion of participants involved, in what is now commonly referred to as crowd-sourcing innovation. This paper reviews the existing literature on strengths and weaknesses of crowd-sourced innovation in product development, moving further from a company-based perspective, to an individual designer’s perspective. The questions raised serve as the basis to conduct empirical research on the problem domain in order to ascertain to what extent the transforming landscape of product development requires a shift in product designer’s skills, competencies, and expectations in terms of job opportunities and career development. How much of a trained product designer’s skills are endangered by this growing phenomenon? Is this a passing fad, or has it come to stay and radically change the product development rules of the game? Are there any benefits for society at large, brought about by these new forms of organizing and conceiving the product development process (e.g. is there an increased consciousness of “producing locally and acting globally” that is brought about by the crowd)? How much will this phenomenon erode the need for designers or their salary levels? What are the new niches of specialization brought about in this changing scenario to product designers, which cannot adequately be tackled by this new product design paradigm? This paper reports on results of a focus group study shedding light on the multiple variants of tentative answers to the afore-mentioned questions.

Keywords: Social Product Development, Crowd Sourcing, Paradigm Shift, Skills and Careers, Industrial Design

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 10th, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 220.038KB)).

Fátima Lanhoso Vieira

Graduate Student, Department of Electromechanical Engineering, Technological Industrial Design, Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal

Fábio Nunes

Industrial Designer, Technological Industrial Design, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilha, Castelo Branco, Portugal

Prof. Denis A. Coelho

Assistant Professor, Technological Industrial Design Program, Human Technology Group , Department of Electromechanical Engineering, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal