Product Design

Unsupervised computer vision

Using computer vision to measure product design visual similarity

The emergence of novel product uses: An investigation of exaptations in IKEA hacks

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.

IKEA product hacking

How user-innovators generate novel product functions through hacking

Design patents

Intellectual property protection for product designs

Anchored differentiation: The role of temporal distance in the comparison and evaluation of new 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.

Revisiting the role of collaboration in creating breakthrough inventions

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.

On styles in product design: An analysis of US design patents

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").