Design Innovation Typologies. A critical Analysis of a Complex Relationship


  • Cabirio Cautela Polytechnic of Milano
  • Lucia Rampino Polytechnic of Milano



innovation theories, product innovation, aesthetic innovation, innovation of use, meaning innovation


In the literature, many types of product innovation are described. In this article, we analyze the three design-related innovation typologies that seem most discussed and agreed upon: i) aesthetic innovation; ii) innovation of use; iii) meaning innovation. While allowing overlaps and complementarities, each typology focuses on a specific aspect of a product’s innovation. Over time, such specificities prevented the formulation of an integrated theoretical model able to connect them together and express logical and functional relations among them. In this article – through a systematic analysis of the literature of the last 30 years – we aim to identify a theoretical model that underlines the specific drivers of any innovation typology, at the same time composing them in a coherent framework in which some are considered logical and instrumental antecedents with respect to higher level of innovation.


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Author Biographies

Cabirio Cautela, Polytechnic of Milano

Innovation Economist and PhD in Economics and Business Management, he is an Associate Professor at the Design Department, where he teaches Strategic Design and Design Management. 

Lucia Rampino, Polytechnic of Milano

Architect and PhD in Industrial Design, she is an Associate Professor at the Design Department, where she teaches Product Design and Design Thinking.


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How to Cite

Cautela, C. and Rampino, L. (2019) “Design Innovation Typologies. A critical Analysis of a Complex Relationship”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 5(online), pp. 127–136. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/5142019.