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Understanding Effects of Analogical Distance on Performance of Ideation: Key Observations and Findings

[+] Author Affiliations
Srinivasan Venkataraman, Binyang Song, Jianxi Luo, Karupppasamy Subburaj, Mohan Rajesh Elara, Lucienne Blessing, Kristin Wood

Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore, Singapore

Paper No. DETC2017-67752, pp. V007T06A007; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 29th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5821-9
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The effect of analogical distance between design stimuli and design problem on novelty and quality of generated concepts is investigated in this research. Data from a design project involving 105 student designers, divided into 21 teams and individually generating 226 concepts of spherical rolling robots, is collected. From this data, 138 concepts generated with patents as stimuli and the patents used as stimuli are analyzed. Analogical distance of a patent is measured in terms of the knowledge distance of the technology classes constituting this patent from the technology classes constituting the design problem domain of spherical rolling robots. The key findings are: (a) technology classes in closer than farther distance from the design problem are used more frequently to generate concepts, (b) as analogical distance increases the novelty of concepts increases, and (c) as analogical distance decreases the quality of concepts increases. These observations have implications on choosing stimuli to generate concepts of desired novelty and quality.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Robots , Design , Patents , Teams , Students



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