Beyond “the Eye” of the Beholder: Scent innovation through analogical reconfiguration

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“Constructing Meaning: Using Visual and Material Data” was the title of a Professional Development Workshop at the recent 76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Anaheim. A set of panelists including Renate Meyer, Paolo Quattrone, Silviya Svejenova reported on their experiences and discussed how visual and material discourses such as images, logos, videos, product designs trigger a range of cognitive, emotional and other responses that transform audiences into active co-creators and communicators of symbolic meaning. In this context, Gazi Islam presented our insights into the process of perfume-making as published in a recent paper in Organization Studies: “Beyond “the Eye” of the Beholder: Scent innovation through analogical reconfiguration“. Based on a longitudinal case study of the signature perfume label Humiecki & Graef and the two perfumers Christophe Laudamiel and Christoph Hornetz the paper examines analogical processes as drivers of innovation. It highlights the role of materiality to ground processes across different modalities (i.e. visuality, olfaction). The paper is part of a special issue “Misfits, Mavericks and Mainstreams: Drivers of Innovation in the Creative Industries” edited by Candace Jones, Silviya Svejenova, Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen and Barbara Townley. In their introduction, the editors point out that creative products evoke a spectrum of associations and responses in their audiences, each potentially overspilling established encoded structure to be suggestive of others. Thus, the field of scent design and perfumery is once again positioned in the domain of pioneering creative industries – next to design, multimedia, cinema, art entertainment, design, advertising and art.

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