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Culture Criminals: Social Media’s Affront to Subculture and Design Management

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Qian SUN and Dave LOWE


Due to the advent of the age of social media, youth culture, typically
catalysed by media and fashion movements and bound by geographic
location, is behaving in an entirely atypical manner, changing the way
innovation is diffused among consumers. With this, the methods employed by
marketing practitioners may be in danger of being rendered archaic as the
innovations and trends that they pursue operate in an exaggerated and
accelerated state of flux as the barriers between traditional subcultures
collapse and merge, further challenging the functions of design management
in a NPD project. This paper aims to investigate these phenomena through
primary research (based upon the findings of six case studies and ten in-depth
interviews). A theoretical reworking of Roger’s diffusion of innovations model
illustrates the shortening of trends and the increase in velocity of tipping due
to the wider population of innovators and early adopters that social media
allows. This leads to the urgency of involving consumers in the process of
innovation; and participatory design being an important aspect of NPD. The
discussion implies that the function of design management should shift from
acquiring marketing intelligence to facilitating the involvement of consumers
in the process of innovation and NPD.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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