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Creativity ‘Misrules’: First Year Engineering Students’ Production and Perception of Creativity in Design Ideas

[+] Author Affiliations
Colin M. Gray, Seda Yilmaz

Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Shanna Daly, Colleen M. Seifert, Richard Gonzalez

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. DETC2015-46492, pp. V003T04A006; 10 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 17th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 12th International Conference on Design Education; 8th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5710-6
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


We report four cases from a larger study, focusing on participants’ self-identified “most creative” concept in relation to their other concepts. As part of an ideation session, first-year engineering students were asked to create concepts for one of two engineering design problems in an 85-minute period, and were exposed to one of two different forms of fixation. Participants worked as individuals, first using traditional brainstorming techniques and generating as many ideas as possible. Design Heuristics cards were then introduced, and students were asked to generate as many additional concepts as possible. After the activity, participants ranked all of the concepts they generated from most to least creative. Representative cases include a detailed analysis of the concept that each participant rated as “most creative,” idea generation method used, and relative location and relationship of the concept to other concepts generated by that participant. Across four cases, we identified a number of characteristic “misrules” or misconceptions, revealing that first-year students judge creativity in their concepts in ways that could inhibit their ability to produce truly novel concepts. We present Design Heuristics as a tool to encourage the exploration of creative concept pathways, empowering students to create more novel concepts by rejecting misrules about creativity.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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