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Technology-Based Design and Sustainable Economic Growth

Forthcoming, Technovation

44 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2011 Last revised: 27 Jan 2015

Jianxi Luo

Singapore University of Technology and Design

Alison L. Olechowski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Christopher L. Magee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date Written: March 31, 2012

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze how design creates economic value. The literature on knowledge-based economic development has primarily focused on innovation as the analytical lens, whereas design is the original action that leads to innovation. Despite the fundamental importance of design, existing design research has offered few insights and little guidance for national strategies due to the lack of focus on and analysis of design in an economic context. This paper addresses such gaps by linking design research and economic development theory. We first elaborate on the relationship among design, invention and innovation, describing the necessity of design activity for invention and innovation. Our analysis of the fundamental characteristics of design across contexts sheds light on the strategic importance of the accumulative nature of technology-based design for sustaining economic growth. Through the lens of technology-based design, we further quantitatively compare Singapore and three similarly-sized countries (South Korea, Finland and Taiwan). Based upon interview data, we also qualitatively examine Singapore’s national strategy focusing on design. The quantitative and qualitative results align well with the Singaporean government’s use of design as a strategic lever to pursue innovation-driven economic growth, and also reveal its achievements and shortfalls which indicate possible directions for strategic adjustment.

Keywords: technologically-based design, invention, innovation, design capability, expertise, economic growth

Suggested Citation

Luo, Jianxi and Olechowski, Alison L. and Magee, Christopher L., Technology-Based Design and Sustainable Economic Growth (March 31, 2012). Forthcoming, Technovation. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1953608

Jianxi Luo (Contact Author)

Singapore University of Technology and Design ( email )

20 Dover Drive
Singapore, 138682
Singapore

Alison L. Olechowski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Christopher L. Magee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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