0
Research Papers

An Experimental Study of Group Idea Generation Techniques: Understanding the Roles of Idea Representation and Viewing Methods

[+] Author and Article Information
J. S. Linsey1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3123 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843jlinsey@tamu.edu

E. F. Clauss

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, M/C C2200, Austin, TX 78712emily.clauss@gmail.com

T. Kurtoglu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, M/C C2200, Austin, TX 78712tolga@mail.utexas.edu

J. T. Murphy

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, M/C C2200, Austin, TX 78712jmurphy101@hotmail.com

K. L. Wood

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, M/C C2200, Austin, TX 78712wood@mail.utexas.edu

A. B. Markman

Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, M/C A8000, Austin, TX 78712markman@psy.utexas.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 133(3), 031008 (Mar 10, 2011) (15 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003498 History: Received October 05, 2009; Revised December 19, 2010; Published March 10, 2011; Online March 10, 2011

Advances in innovation processes are critically important as economic and business landscapes evolve. There are many concept generation techniques that can assist a designer in the initial phases of design. Unfortunately, few studies have examined these techniques that can provide evidence to suggest which techniques should be preferred or how to implement them in an optimal way. This study systematically investigates the underlying factors of four common and well-documented techniques: brainsketching, gallery, 6-3-5, and C-sketch. These techniques are resolved into their key parameters, and a rigorous factorial experiment is performed to understand how the key parameters affect the outcomes of the techniques. The factors chosen for this study with undergraduate mechanical engineers include how concepts are displayed to participants (all are viewed at once or subsets are exchanged between participants, i.e., “rotational viewing”) and the mode used to communicate ideas (written words only, sketches only, or a combination of written words and sketches). Four metrics are used to evaluate the data: quantity, quality, novelty, and variety. The data suggest that rotational viewing of sets of concepts described using sketches combined with words produces more ideas than having all concepts displayed in a “gallery view” form, but a gallery view results in more high quality concepts. These results suggest that a hybrid of methods should be used to maximize the quality and number of ideas. The study also shows that individuals gain a significant number of ideas from their teammates. Ideas, when shared, can foster new idea tracks, more complete layouts, and a diverse synthesis. Finally, as teams develop more concepts, the quality of the concepts improves. This result is a consequence of the team-sharing environment and, in conjunction with the quantity of ideas, validates the effectiveness of group idea generation. This finding suggests a way to go beyond the observation that some forms of brainstorming can actually hurt productivity.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Design , Project tasks , Teams
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Illustration of gallery method

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

Illustration of 6-3-5 and C-sketch. Six people silently describe three ideas on a sheet of paper and then exchange papers.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 3

Design problem description

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 4

Options for building from others’ ideas

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 5

An example of one product solution from the words only condition

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 6

Example of one sketched product solution and the list of ideas contained within the product solution

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 8

Examples of product solutions at each quality level

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 9

Example of interesting results from a words and sketches combined with rotational viewing session. The quality of the product solution increases as ideas are added.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 10

Average results for each individual match team results since team sizes were equal. A significant interaction between viewing condition and representation exists. Error bars are ±1 standard deviation for the individual results.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 11

There is an interaction between the representation and how the ideas are displayed

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 12

Main effects for representation and how the ideas are displayed. Number of ideas for each individual is shown.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 13

Quantity of nonredundant ideas added each time period. Results are from a single team in condition 6.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 14

Teams gain a significant number of ideas through collaboration. Results are from a single team in condition 6.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 15

Most groups evaluated only a small fraction of the total design space

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 16

The average amount of the design space covered by each product solution varies. Each error bar is ±1 standard deviation across all teams.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 17

Average quality of a product solution. Each error bar is ±1 standard error.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 18

Distribution of quality scores (quality scores: 1=technically feasible and 2=feasible for the context)

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 19

Number of high quality product solutions for each condition. Each error bar is ±1 standard error calculated across all conditions.

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 20

A greater number of product solutions results in more high quality ones

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In