Research Papers

Impacts of Synthesis Reasoning on Ideation Effectiveness in Conceptual Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Ang Liu

e-mail: angliu@usc.edu

Stephen C-Y. Lu

e-mail: sclu@usc.edu
Department of Aerospace and
Mechanical Engineering,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanical Design. Manuscript received August 7, 2012; final manuscript received March 11, 2013; published online April 22, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Jonathan Cagan.

J. Mech. Des 135(6), 061009 (Apr 22, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-12-1403; doi: 10.1115/1.4024086 History: Received August 07, 2012; Revised March 11, 2013

Synthesis plays a critical role in determining the ideation effectiveness in conceptual design. When synthesis is formulated as a reasoning activity, there are several fundamental reasoning principles in formal logic that can be applied to support making the “what→how” propositions. This paper introduces three such principles that define a good what→how proposition in synthesis, namely the synthetic principle, the instantiation principle, and the abduction principle. Furthermore, we present a rigorous case study that explores the impacts of these reasoning principles on the ideation effectiveness. Specifically, we conduct a correlation analysis between the count of what→how propositions that follow and fail to follow every principle with different ideation metrics. The results provide clear evidence that certain correlations exist between the reasoning activity and the ideation effectiveness in conceptual design.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Illustration of analytic-synthetic distinction in synthesis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Genealogy trees for CN1 (the left) and CN2 (the right) in design project 15

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Sketching of final solution in design project 15

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

A collection of final concept sketching in some design projects

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Scatter plot of impacts of the abduction principle




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