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Multilevel Aligned Empirical Studies of Ideation: Final Results

[+] Author Affiliations
Jami J. Shah, Noe Vargas-Hernandez

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Steven M. Smith

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. DETC2006-99642, pp. 171-180; 10 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4a: 18th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4258-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


The overall objective of the study is to gain an insight into design ideation. Towards that goal we are empirically evaluating the effectiveness of design ideation methods. Key components of ideation methods have been identified and effectiveness metrics have been developed. This paper presents experimental results conducted on six ideation components (Provocative Stimuli, Suspend Judgment, Flexible Representation, Frame of Reference Shifting, Incubation, and Provocative Stimuli). These experiments were conducted simultaneously at the Design (Engineering) and Lab (Cognitive Psychology) levels; a previously developed experimental procedure considered the alignment of experiments at these two levels. The understanding of ideation components was improved (some are stronger, some are easier to manipulate, interactions are complex, etc.). Data collected revealed that some ideation components have similar effects and could be grouped into higher-level (ideation) principles according to their effects. A distinction was made between process and outcome metrics and it was found that outcome metrics were harder to improve than process metrics. A correlation was also found between quality and quantity, this supports the widely accepted belief that generating more ideas increases the chances of obtaining higher quality ideas.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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