Reconstructing Meaning Without Redesigning Products: The Case of the Serie7 Chair

13 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018

See all articles by Marta Gasparin

Marta Gasparin

University of Leicester - School of Management

William Green

University of Leicester - Division of Economics, School of Business

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

What constitutes product value has traditionally been attributed to aesthetics, elicitation of emotions, quality and style. The design‐driven innovation literature, instead, suggests that meanings are sought and designed as a way to deliver value to customers; however, it infers that product meanings evolve when a product is redesigned. What happens to product meanings when products have not been redesigned but have remained successful in the market over a number of decades? This study identifies how meanings attached to long‐lasting products have changed in spite of a consistent form and shape. Using actor‐network theory (ANT) as an analytical framework to understand the relationship between meaning and the materiality of the object, an ethnography of the Serie7 chair was conducted. Weekly site visits, formal and informal interviews were coupled with observations and supplemented with 60 years of historical information. We contribute to the innovation literature by demonstrating the importance of materiality in constructing product meaning over long periods. We analysed the Serie7 in four different periods of its life, looking at meaning of the chair at the time, and how management proposed new meanings through a translation process, connecting otherwise disconnected elements.

Suggested Citation

Gasparin, Marta and Green, William, Reconstructing Meaning Without Redesigning Products: The Case of the Serie7 Chair (December 2018). Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 27, Issue 4, pp. 401-413, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3288712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/caim.12267

Marta Gasparin (Contact Author)

University of Leicester - School of Management ( email )

Leicester
Leicester, AK LE1 4AY
United Kingdom

William Green

University of Leicester - Division of Economics, School of Business

United Kingdom

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