Title: Product design and social needs: the case of North-East Brazil

Authors: Luiz E.C. Guimarges, John E.T. Penny, Stanley Moody

Addresses: Department of Industrial Design, Centre for Science & Technology, Federal University of Paraiba – Campus 11, Av. Aprigio Veloso 882, BL. BO – Bodocongo, Caixa Postal 10.101, CEP 58. 109-970 Campina Grande PB, Brazil. ' Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK. ' Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK

Abstract: Product design has a significant role within the overall process of innovation. It is through design that ideas and demands from the market are expressed in material form and transformed into hardware. This paper presents the findings of a survey of small firms producing light engineering products in Paraiba, a state in the north-eastern region of Brazil. The aim of the survey was to obtain an overview of the activities of entrepreneurs, evidence of innovation, methods used in new product development, and the level of training and institutional support available. It argues that this important aspect of innovation has been neglected in the development literature. Recognition of this innovative potential is crucial to the development of small firms in developing countries.

Keywords: product design; social needs; non-professional design; socially useful design; industrial design; engineering design; technical innovation; informal sector; low income users; small firms; developing countries; north-east Brazil; entrepreneurship; new product development; NPD; training; institutional support.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025521

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.7/8, pp.849 - 864

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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