Using computer vision to measure product design visual similarity
Exaptation refers to the emergence of novel functionalities in existing products. We compare how product-first (compared to problem-first) search affects the occurrence of exaptations in a dataset consisting of creative modifications (i.e., hacks) of IKEA products.
How user-innovators generate novel product functions through hacking
Intellectual property protection for product designs
Comparative processes are crucial to how consumers evaluate design. What we show, however, is that consumers can be sophisticated in such comparisons. Given a novel design, they would lean on its similarities to past designs to understand its functionalities, but also lean on dis-similarities to other contemporary designs to seek distinctiveness and express their individuality.
We challenge the notion that collaboration is always better than working
alone. In our study using technological and design patents we find that the
decomposability of the invention significantly moderates the effectiveness of
the lone inventor. Particularly, tasks that are less decomposable relatively
advantages the lone inventor. We also show that lone inventors working on
non-decomposable inventions and who have collaborated widely in the past
outperforms even teams.
We show how one can identify styles (categories of product design that are perceived to be similar) using design patents. Using this data set we show that (i) style turbulence (unpredictable changes in style) is increasing over time, and (ii) technological turbulence (unpredictable changes in technology) have a U-shaped relationship to style turbulence. I use this data platform to study other questions (see e.g., "Anchored Differentiation").