Meaning Innovations with Design Support: Towards Transparency and Sustainability in the IT field

Tarja Pääkkönen, Melanie Sarantou, Satu Miettinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This interdisciplinary article views meaning innovations as socially constructed and reflects on designing in the context of potential harmful consequences within information technology (IT) contexts. In the shift from products towards services, digital platforms and technology designers have gained a mediating and more strategic role while developing multiple connections and interactions between products, touchpoints, users and suppliers. The design manager is involved in organisational strategizing and innovating. Following key principles of design, the context of all those affected by design should be considered. Meaning innovations may emerge when designers facilitate, partially guide and are guided by strategic goals and innovation discourses in organisational settings in conjunction with numerous others. Based on a literature review and reflection on empirical findings, this article suggests paths for designing meaningfulness through an exploration of material lifecycles, digital content, algorithms and data transparency in digital contexts. The concept of meaning innovation is suggested to encourage organisations to reflect on decisions regarding responsibility, sustainability and transparency beyond the mainstream customer focus leading to improved organizational sensemaking and decisions, supported by design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
JournalDesign Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • IT
  • design transparency
  • harmful consequences
  • meaning innovation
  • reflexivity

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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