Design for Meaning of Smart Connected Products


  • Ilaria VITALI Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Venanzio ARQUILLA Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Innocenzo RIFINO Studio Habits, Italy



Meaning-driven innovation, , Product Design, Smart Connected Products, IoT, Design Tool


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.




How to Cite

VITALI, I. ., ARQUILLA, V. ., & RIFINO, I. . (2019). Design for Meaning of Smart Connected Products. Conference Proceedings of the Academy for Design Innovation Management, 2(1), 1189–1202.