Author: Fung, Mei-ling
Title: A desire based framework for conceptual design
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2011
Subject: New products.
New products -- Psychological aspects.
Product design.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Pages: 1 v. (various pagings) : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: Conceptual design being the very first stage in new product development (NPD) is important to the product's viability. This research reviewed the tools, skills, and existing market research techniques commonly used in contemporary conceptual design. All these know-how, including semiotic marketing, product semantics and computer-aided tools, support the designers to clarify, generate and evaluate their concepts. However, the existing NPD conceptual design research relies primarily on customers' need satisfaction, which is based on human's conscious behavior. In this semiotic consumption society, customers do not consume only for their basic needs. They have all kinds of wants to fulfill in each act of consumption. Moreover, different objects have different psychological meanings to different persons. Roland Barthes found in 1967 that it was not the object but the name that created desire. Marketers are selling meanings in the markets. The desires for these meanings are the motivation of consumption. They are mostly hidden and unconscious. As exemplified from a number of market success and failure stories, the needs of end-users may not be identified accurately by marketing research and may not be spelt out explicitly by the clients or customers. This research, therefore, explores feasible means for designers to comprehend the implicit desires.
Based upon theories of Sigmund Freud's unconscious and Jacques Lacan's human desire, psychoanalytic techniques to unveil the unconscious desire were devised. As a result, customers' need satisfaction approach is shifted to desire fulfillment of customers. The investigation consolidates into a better fuzzy front end defuzzification scheme for conceptual design theory with an implementable workflow. A three-step process of desire based conceptual design framework was proposed: symbols extraction (recognition/identification), desire elicitation, and desire manifestation. Lacan's Graph of Desire shows that desire is the desire of the Other, not the subject's own desire. This enables the elicitation of the subject's unconscious desire. Charles Peirce's Triadic Semiotic Theory is then engaged to interpret those emerging symbols and signs. There are different levels of interpretation for designers to work out and to uncover the hidden desire of the consumers before developing any preliminary idea. Implementation through collecting/analyzing information from user's daily life is discussed. Unconscious acts in the daily behavior are discovered by using free association and analysis of dream and resistance. Finally, concepts for downstream embodiment and detail design stages are obtained from the amalgamation of both explicit needs and implicit desires. A real life pilot study to confirm the new approach was performed. The results of the non-desire based and the desire based conceptual design were compared, analyzed, and assessed. Nine designers were involved first to sketch a design concept in their normal practice (non-desire based) for a specific user and then draft another concept using the desire based conceptual design technique for the same user. The two ideas are assessed by the ten other designers. Using Student's t-test statistic method and qualitative analysis, the new desire based conceptual design approach is concluded to derive significantly better designs. The findings of this research demonstrated support for use of the new approach and encouraged further study.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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