Design for the Information Society: What can We Learn from the Nokia Experience?

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Traditionally, producers faced a binary choice when channelling new technologies into consumers' everyday lives. They pushed new science-based technology or adapted to often unimaginative market pull. The former isolated design from consumers, the latter from technology. The emerging information society aggravates the traditional trade-off into a dilemma. Many consumers fail to sufficiently comprehend new information technologies to meaningfully experience them, or to demand anything else from them. This article explores how Nokia, the world's leading producer of mobile phones, channels new technologies into the everyday lives of consumers. Interaction with consumers is a driver of design at Nokia. Nokia mixes and matches diverse new technologies with consumer groups according to each group's capacity to comprehend and experience these new technologies. We propose that Nokia's heuristic rules about organization of interaction with consumers may generalize beyond Nokia.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2000

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  • Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.
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