Hearing the Voice of the Consumer: Overcoming Resistance to a Market-led Stance Amongst Art and Design Students
The question of how to encourage designers to introduce a customer-focus (or market-led element) into design processes has received much attention in the innovation and new product development (NPD) literature. However, in the theory and practice of tertiary educational, less attention has been paid to this question, despite the concerns of educators and students to produce designs that are commercially viable. The reason for the limited focus on a market-led approach to design in art and design schools (as opposed to engineering and industrial design departments) lies to some extent in the reservations that exist amongst academics, that a market-led approach may stifle innovation and subordinate designers’ creativity to established market taste. This research investigates how aspects of creativity in design are subordinated to the imperatives of responding to the needs of consumer markets in the context of teaching and learning practice in postgraduate Design and Marketing courses at the University of the Arts London. Through observation of inter-functional dialogues between designers and expert end-users, the researchers draw out areas of conflict and convergence. A contribution is made to the debate on how a market-led approach may be introduced in PG design courses while safeguarding the designer’s freedom to innovate and go beyond market taste. This research is supported by an Award from the Creative Learning in Practice Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Keywords: Market-Led Design, Inter-Functional Conflict and Integration
Dr. Emilio Foxell
Senior Lecturer, Marketing, University of the Arts London
Currently conducting research in the area of strategic marketing focusing on the retail sector and on questions of inter-functional organisation between design and marketing functions.