Design is Everything?

Journal of Product Innovation Management, Forthcoming

11 Pages Posted: 25 May 2010

Date Written: May 25, 2010


This essay attempts to demarcate the industrial practice of product design and situate it in the context of academic research. The term product design presents definitional challenges, as it is used in practice in different ways, and even varies in usage regionally. For this article, product design is "conceiving and giving form to goods and services that address needs." The activity of product design can be thought of as comprising several key decisions. Because the decisions of product design do not map cleanly to any one academic discipline, the subject has not garnered enough attention in any one field to develop fully its own academic identity. Scholarly research in product design has often been cultivated by the emergence of a methodological paradigm. While several such paradigms are in use, several others offer substantial promise.

Keywords: Design, Product Design, Design Research, Industrial Design, Product Development, Marketing

Suggested Citation

Ulrich, Karl T., Design is Everything? (May 25, 2010). Journal of Product Innovation Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Karl T. Ulrich (Contact Author)

The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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