Using Design Heuristics in Idea Generation: Does it Take Expertise to Benefit?

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Voss, Markus; Sauer, Thorsten; Bozkurt, Hulusi
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1DHBW Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mannheim; 2DHBW Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Ravensburg, Germany
Section: Creativity
Page(s): 574-579
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


This paper presents a study that examines how well-known methods for idea generation can be advantageously combined. It investigates Method 6-3-5, a group technique for six developers who successively refine three initial ideas under tight time constraints (within five minutes per round). In the conducted experiments, this commonly used brainwriting technique was complemented with a set of design heuristics that should help the participants to abstract the problem and should guide them to potential solutions.
The study (with N = 88 participants in total) compares first and third year B.Eng. students in a Mechanical Engineering programme with young professionals holding more than one year working experience. For evaluating the solutions that the participants generated, metrics were employed that measured the variety and the quantity of the ideas. The paper also analyses if more experience permits engineers to overcome the ‘fixation’ to an initial design.

Keywords: Creativity, conceptual design, design heuristics, brainwriting techniques, design fixation


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