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


Kotlarewski, NJ and Kuys, B and Thong, C, Design innovation: a tool for value-adding to the Papua New Guinea balsa wood industry, Journal of Design, Business and Society, 2, (2) pp. 183-196. ISSN 2055-2106 (2016) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: doi:10.1386/dbs.2.2.183_1


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 that 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 in value-adding to the PNG balsa industry and smallholder businesses. The use of research to inform the design process and generate design innovation is demonstrated through a case study as an attempt to rectify the current over-supply and under-demand.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:balsa, design innovation, research-led industrial design practice, smallholders, Papua New Guinea (PNG), value-add
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Design
Research Field:Interaction and experience design
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in built environment and design
UTAS Author:Kotlarewski, NJ (Dr Nathan Kotlarewski)
ID Code:112059
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Architecture and Design
Deposited On:2016-10-25
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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