Man-Made Answers to Man-Felt Needs

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Per Mollerup


Artifacts are man-made answers to man-felt needs. Researchers and authors have described the answers, needs, values, processes, and economies involved. This article synthesizes and expands on some of their findings.Do artifacts answer needs? Not always. Sometimes, the process leading to an artifact rather than the resulting artifact is the answer to a felt need. This is the case when artists create because they must create. The product becomes a by-product. Sometimes, industrial products are questions rather than answers. They ask, “Won’t you buy me?” rather than announcing, “This is what you asked for!”This article does not distinguish between artifacts resulting from supply push and those resulting from demand pull. Rather, it acknowledges that there are good answers and not-so-good answers to the needs of intended users.

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