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Strategic Use of International Product Design Award Schemes

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Whan Oh Sung, PhD Candidate, KAIST, Department of Industrial Design; Ki-Young Rieple, Assistant Professor, KAIST, Department of Industrial Design; Kyung-won Chung, Chief Design Officer/Deputy Mayor, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Design Seoul Headquarters


In tandem with the rising importance of design, international product design awards are used as an effective tool for increasing global product visibility. Companies participate in design awards for various reasons and use them strategically to achieve those purposes. Design awards evaluate design excellence, and companies can capitalize on that excellence in many ways-to extol product quality, to highlight financial acumen and design management prowess, and simply to prove design competency. Doing this also has a good effect on companies' business and management performance going forward. Maximizing the impact and value of participating in design award schemes requires a strategic approach, but many studies dealing with design awards (i.e., Design Council, 2004, 2005; Reinmoeller and Steen, 2004; and Whyte et al., 2003) have focused on the performance of companies that have already won awards and not on the strategies they might have used to reach that point. The two notable empirical studies that did address the value of industrial design awards (Brunswicker and Seymour, 2006, and Sung, 2007) did not deal with strategic intention, either, and they were limited to a specific industry and a specific domestic environment, respectively.This paper aims to explore the perceived and real values of design award schemes and identify the key factors acting on strategic decision-making for manufacturing companies participating in design award schemes as well as to suggest how design award schemes can be used for maximum corporate impact. To fulfill these aims, it will critically examine the companies' purposes in participating, the perceived impacts of those purposes, the relationship between purposes and their impacts, and the inter-relationships of the companies' corresponding attitudes.




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