Design Research: History, Theory, Practice - Histories for Future-focused Thinking









Reverse Innovation: How Has Design in the Greater Pearl River Delta Region Changed the World 

Ningchang Zhou, Tao Huang 

South China Agricultural University, Southern Illinois University

Keywords: reverse innovation; industrial design; Chinese design; design history


After more than 40 years of rapid development, industrial design in Mainland China is due for a thorough documentation and examination. In particular, design in the Greater Pearl River Delta region has played a crucial role in this process and must be studied carefully to help us understand what could transpire in the future. This paper aims at deepening the understanding of the cultural context of innovations in the Greater Pearl River Delta Region. Based on years of direct involvement with the growing of the industrial design profession, the authors started a research project to document significant design companies that marked the trajectory of development of the profession and business of industrial design. The paper further aims to uncover culturally significant design innovations and innovations that have gained great international success that could be categorized as “reverse innovation”. Both have played a role to the advancement of the profession. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Zhou, N., Huang, T. (2016). Reverse Innovation: How Has Design in the Greater Pearl River Delta Region Changed the World. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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