Design for Meaning of Smart Connected Products
This paper tackles the topic of meaning-driven innovation from a Product Design perspective. It focuses on the design of Smart Connected Products: internet-enabled phygital products that blend hardware and software. This category of products represents a positive field of exploration for meaning-driven innovation. The paper highlights three kinds of meaning that are relevant for Smart Connected Products: the meaningful identity of the object as product category, the meaning of the product in relation to its shape and functionality, and in relation to a phygital ecosystem. The paper reflects on the methods that can support designers in the development of meaningful smart products and presents the “Mapping the IoT” Toolkit, a downloadable tool that guides in specific activities aimed at framing the product’s meaning. Tests with the Toolkit proved the effectiveness of using cards with critical questions as a way to deepen design concepts and reach a common, meaningful vision.
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