28 August 2018

Research Pick: Repurposing consumers - "Exploring how and why consumers create unintended uses of products"

People often find weird and wonderful alternative uses for the products they buy. For example, coal drinks have been used as household cleaner, construction toys such as Lego and Meccano are often used to ad lib rigs for a variety of purposes such as to support cameras, and of course many people “hack” their game consoles or other devices to do computational and communications jobs for which the device was not originally designed. And for many years, people have ripped old clothing into rags for a wide range of cleaning applications.

Understanding how and why consumers engage in such creative re-use, sometimes upcycling, is the focus of research from Thailand. The aim is to help manufacturers and their designers find new ways to build original products for the consumer market. There is also the need to educate consumers about repurposing specific products where there might be new health and safety risks associated with such change of use.

Wongkitrungrueng, A. (2018) ‘Exploring how and why consumers create unintended uses of products’, Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp.453–470.

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