This book brings together a range of sociologists and economists to study the role of demand and consumption in the innovative process. Starting with a broad conceptual overview of ways that the sociological and economics literatures address issues of innovation, demand and consumption, it goes on to offer different approaches to the economics of demand and innovation through an evolutionary framework, before reviewing how consumption fits into evolutionary models of economic development. The book then looks at food consumption as an example of innovation by demand, including an examination of the dynamic nature of socially constituted consumption routines. It includes an analysis of how African Americans use consumption to express collective identity and discusses the involvement of consumers in innovation, focusing on how consumer needs may be incorporated in the design of high-tech products. It also argues for the need to build an economic sociology of demand that goes from micro-individual through to macro-structural features.
Andrew McMeekin, Ken Green, Mark Tomlinson and Vivien Walsh
efforts are rather underdeveloped.
Vivien Walsh, Carole Cohen and Albert Richards, in Chapter 11, also focus
on users and how their needs may be incorporated (successfully or otherwise)
in the design of high-techproducts. After first surveying the evolution of
user orientation, user-friendliness, user-centred design and human–machine
interaction in the ICT industry, they report an ethnographic study of telecom
product design. They found that the job of the design team in a high-tech
industry where firms collaborate was just as likely to be the design
This chapter focuses on users and how their needs may be incorporated in the design of high-tech products. After discussing demand, markets, and user needs and surveying the evolution of user orientation, user-friendliness, user-centred design, and human-machine interaction in the information and communication technology industry, the chapter reports an ethnographic study of telecommunications equipment design. It shows that the job of the design team in a high-tech industry where firms collaborate was just as likely to be the design of the organisational arrangements for the development and delivery of new products and services as the design of the products and services themselves. Design as an activity links many of the functions in the business enterprise and its environment; building such links is an essential part of the design and innovation process. The chapter also demonstrates that usability testing took a very particular form in which to pay attention to users needs. Some unexpected findings were made that had to be incorporated into a future product design.
important than labour flexibility and the
ability to move commodities and profits freely.
The attraction of the EU as a market for US high-techproducts increased
further after 1992 with the coming of the single European market. US
investments in the EU rose rapidly and they agglomerated in Ireland
primarily because of its extremely low tax rates on corporate profits –
ten per cent compared with thirty to forty per cent elsewhere in Europe.
Low tax rates not only meant that TNCs could retain more of the profits
expansion of exports of labor-intensive manufactured goods. Indeed, the
two were intimately related, as much of the foreign investment was in the
labor-intensive manufacturing sector – producing everything from textiles
(in particular, garments), to wood products, rubber products, processed
foods, canned goods, plastic goods, toys, shoes, leather products and confectionery, as well as medium and high-techproducts such as computer
components, electronics, automobile parts, telecommunications and sound
equipment, machinery and electrical goods.16 By the end of 1996, the