Product personality assignment as a mediating technique in biologically and culturally inspired design
The chapter reviews the product personality assignment technique and proposes its deployment in two kinds of approaches to design, biologically and culturally inspired design, two approaches to design that may contribute to the satisfaction of sustainability goals. While the focus of the first is on efficiency and effectiveness, with decreased resource usage, the promotion of local resource use and local production for local consumption, sought by culturally inspired design, may also be conducive to reduced environmental impacts. Biologically inspired design seeks to inform the process of design with examples and solutions from nature, whether the bionic example is viewed as the trigger for the design process or it is considered in the concept generation phase. The chapter demonstrates, through the report on a design case, the use of the product personality assignment technique within a bionic design process, at the phase of validation of requirements satisfaction. In this case, a set of subjects performed the evaluation directly on the design concepts. This design case consisted of the design of a device to store discs and books, taking inspiration from nature. In another design case, reported in the chapter, seeking transposition of cultural aspects to product design, existing products were initially assigned personality profiles and rated by a set of subjects. The researchers then sought to establish links between the personality assignment made by subjects and by
researchers and the features of the products. In parallel, cultural profiles were developed for translation into product personality profiles and from these to product features in order to trigger design processes. The second design case reported led to production of new furniture concepts. Considering the current urgency in achieving sustainability, the two cases presented in the chapter also suggest a systematization of the possible deployments of the product personality assignment technique in a wide array of methodological approaches to design. Taking an even wider perspective, the cases also provide evidence of the interplay between human factors and ergonomics goals in design and sustainability.