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Cultural drivers in product development : an historical case study

Wodehouse, Andrew and Tindley, Annie (2012) Cultural drivers in product development : an historical case study. In: The 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity, 2012-09-17 - 2012-09-20.

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Abstract

This paper explores the role of cultural factors in product development. While a significant amount of research has outlined the economic and business conditions that make for appropriate innovation strategies, the effects of cultural factors such as institutional arrangements, resource endowments, proprietary functions and social values are less well understood and harder to quantify. A historical example is used to identify types of cultural factors and illustrate how they can interact and affect product development. In this case, the research reviews the steam plough and its use by the Duke of Sutherland for land reclamation in the late 19th century. Despite being vastly expensive and in this case of limited effectiveness, a unique set of cultural factors meant that huge sums of money were invested in the design, development and implementation of these devices. It was ultimately unsuccessful, with many crofters returning to more primitive methods with better results.