Research Papers

The Impact of Team-Based Product Dissection on Design Novelty

[+] Author and Article Information
Christine A. Toh

Department of Mechanical
and Nuclear Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
State College, PA 16802
 e-mail: christinetoh@psu.edu

Scarlett R. Miller

School of Engineering Design,
Technology and Professional Programs,
The Pennsylvania State University,
State College, PA 16802
e-mail: shm13@psu.edu

Gül E. Okudan Kremer

School of Engineering Design,
Technology and Professional Programs,
The Pennsylvania State University,
State College, PA 16802
e-mail: gek3@psu.edu

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received February 16, 2013; final manuscript received November 20, 2013; published online January 31, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Janis Terpenny.

J. Mech. Des 136(4), 041004 (Jan 31, 2014) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-13-1086; doi: 10.1115/1.4026151 History: Received February 16, 2013; Revised November 20, 2013

Although design novelty is a critical area of research in engineering design, most research in this space has focused on understanding and developing formal idea generation methods instead of focusing on the impact of current design practices. This is problematic because formal techniques are often not adopted in industry due to the burdensome steps often included in these methods, which limit the practicality and adoption of these methods. This study seeks to understand the impact of product dissection, a design method widely utilized in academia and industry, on design novelty in order to produce recommendations for the use or alterations of this method for supporting novelty in design. To investigate the impact of dissection, a study was conducted with 76 engineering students who completed a team-based dissection of an electric toothbrush and then individually generated ideas. The relationships between involvement in the dissection activity, the product dissected, the novelty and quantity of the ideas developed were investigated. The results reveal that team members who were more involved in the dissection activity generated concepts that were more novel than those who did not. In addition, the type of the dissected product also had an influence on design novelty. Finally, a positive correlation between the number of ideas generated and the novelty of the design concepts was identified. The results from this study are used to provide recommendations for leveraging product dissection for enhancing novelty in engineering design education and practice.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Design , Teams
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Fig. 1

Electric toothbrushes used for the design project. Left: Oral-B cross action power and right: Oral-B advance power 400.

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Fig. 2

Sequential concepts generated for the body design by participant 45

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Fig. 3

(Top) Participant 25's brush head design that uses writing to supplement the sketch in order to communicate the design idea. (Bottom) Example question with rating scale used to identify the features the idea focused on. Raters answered the question with option 4 (completely disagree).

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Fig. 4

Examples of highly novel ideas for the body design category generated by participant 45 (left) and energy mechanism category generated by participant 12 (right)

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Fig. 5

The means and standard deviations of participant novelty for low and high levels of exposure within team for the body design and energy mechanism category




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