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Design innovation: a tool for value-adding to the Papua New Guinea balsa wood industry


Kotlarewski, N and Kuys, B and Thong, C, Design innovation: a tool for value-adding to the Papua New Guinea balsa wood industry, Proceedings of the Design for Business: Research Conference, 12-13 May 2015, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-9. (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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In recent times the Papua New Guinea (PNG) balsa wood industry has increased in global volume and value, offering employment to a significant number of individuals in East New Britain (ENB) province. The PNG balsa industry previously relied on China’s renewable wind energy industry for rotor blade manufacturing, which was claimed to be the largest consumer of processed balsa from PNG. Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the Chinese demand for PNG balsa has significantly reduced resulting in a mass over-supply and under-demand for the PNG resource. A lack of design innovation has added to the current market conundrum and left many smallholders unable to sell their balsa, leading to widespread financial hardship. It has come to the attention of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and many stakeholders, if there are no new applications for balsa there is no point continuing to grow the resource for a market that is not consuming it. Design innovation generated through research-led industrial design practice is argued as a key element to value-adding to the PNG balsa industry and smallholder businesses, which rely on balsa production for financial gain to support their family and community. A case study of the Swinburne University of Technology, Innovation Cup competition is used as a method to demonstrate how research informs design innovation to add value to the PNG balsa industry.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:balsa, design innovation, research-led industrial design practice, smallholders, Papua New Guinea, value-adding
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Design
Research Field:Interaction and experience design
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Management and productivity
Objective Field:Technological and organisational innovation
UTAS Author:Kotlarewski, N (Dr Nathan Kotlarewski)
ID Code:109620
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Architecture and Design
Deposited On:2016-06-23
Last Modified:2019-09-05

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