Alaniz Navarro, Maria Teresa (2019) Emotion-Driven Innovarion. [Ph.D. thesis]
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Abstract (italian or english)
It is now widely recognised that the emotional dimension of products and services is a critical success factor in many sectors. However, in spite of the importance of the knowledge of emotions in product innovation, professionals responsible for designing and developing new products with emotional value, still need to be facilitated with adequate approaches. In order to obtain the benefits and advantages that the knowledge of emotions can bring, there must be approaches supporting professionals to a) understand the differences in emotions and b) to apply the knowledge of emotions systematically and strategically. Considering the aforementioned facts, the main objective of the thesis was to develop a new process to support product development teams in envisioning emotion-focused new product ideas.
To address the main objective it was adopted a process research methodology (PRM), which is an applied methodology aimed to create, test and refine processes that can be applied in different contexts and in different companies. The PRM encompasses four main steps: 1) state-of-the-art review, 2) process creation, 3) process development and 4) process validation.
In the first step of the PRM, it was analysed the state-of-the-art of methods aimed at supporting the creation of products with emotional value. The state-of-the-art was reached through a systematic literature review (SLR), whose results uncover that most of the identified methods (14 out of 22) support the final stages of product innovation (“back-end of innovation”). Those methods are aimed at measuring emotional reactions towards any sort of stimulus related to the product. Only four out of the eight methods that support the early stages of product innovation (“front-end of innovation”), work with a specific list of emotions; those tools can better pursue the development of the competence of “emotional granularity”. Emotional granularity is the ability by which individuals can interpret and articulate their own and others’ emotional states; this ability is a core advantage in design activities. In addition, it emerged that there were no methods provided in literature supporting the definition of emotional objectives for a new product. The few methods (4 out of 22) supporting the generation of new product ideas with emotional content focus on generating spontaneous solutions; however, those solutions are unrealistic for achieving specific complex targets. And finally, a method which systematically supports the creation of products with emotional value was not found in literature. Considering these facts it has been formulated the following research questions (RQs).
RQ 1 - How can product development teams develop the competence of emotional granularity?
RQ 2 - How can product development teams be strategically supported in defining the emotional intentions of the new product?
RQ 3 - How can product development teams be guided to generate strong and meaningful emotion-focused product ideas?
The questions raised in the SLR have been addressed in the process creation step of the PRM, which encompassed three main activities:
The definition of the main objectives to be achieved by the process.
The elaboration of an original “language” to be used by product development teams in discussing emotions for product innovation: 1) a framework of 19 positive emotion types; 2) the emotional “jobs-to-be-done” associated to the different emotion types, and 3) a framework of human-product emotional interactions.
The design of methods to achieve the main objectives of the process.
The process creation step resulted in an innovative workshop-based process (Emotion-Driven Innovation: E-DI). E-DI has been structured in three phases (emotion knowledge acquisition, emotion goal definition and idea generation) and has been made operational by 5 new methods (the tools and guidelines that define the modus operandi and guide multidisciplinary teams in accomplishing specific outcomes).
In order to develop the E-DI process (third step of PRM), four field studies were conducted in collaboration with the University of Minho, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (Portugal) and the Scuola Italiana Design (Italy). The results of process development showed that E-DI is an executable process that fulfils its objectives by generating new product ideas based upon deep reflection of the meaning of specific emotions, which contain emotional attributes related to the appearance, use, and meaning of the product.
In the validation step of PRM, three field studies were conducted to test the E-DI process with a wider audience (people who represent an interdisciplinary product development team in real design practice) to define the E-DI process as being applicable to a consultancy project or design firm. In addition, one field study was carried out in order to compare the E-DI process with a contemporary design process (design thinking process). The results of process validation uncover that E-DI process stimulates new interpretations of products based on the skills, expertise, and crucially on the emotions of the people involved in the process. This is an important result, as there is ample evidence that products with new interpretations can lead to economic success, in the same way that products with cutting-edge technology and functionality may lead to market dominance.
The impact of the research project can be considered in two perspectives. From an academic perspective, the SLR have highlighted that none of the methods in the literature is capable to fully support in an integrated way all the fundamental components of the “front-end of innovation”; the new workshop-based process addresses this fundamental gap. From an industry perspective, this research offers a robust process that: 1) applies a vocabulary of emotions useful in design practices and that effectively supports the development of emotional granularity; 2) correlates emotional analysis of products currently present on the market with categories of innovation (radical, incremental and the MAYA design principle) which ensures the strategic selection of positive emotions in designing a new product; and 3) stimulates new product ideas with attributes that are beyond the utility of the product.
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