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Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Comparing the Effects of Design Interventions on the Quality of Design Concepts as a Reflection of Ideation Flexibility

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel Henderson

Department of Engineering Science and
Mechanics,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802

Kathryn Jablokow

School of Graduate Professional Studies,
The Pennsylvania State University,
Malvern, PA 19355

Shanna Daly

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Seda McKilligan

Department of Industrial Design,
Iowa State University,
Ames, IA 50011

Eli Silk

Graduate School of Education,
Rutgers University,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Jennifer Bracken

Department of Mechanical and
Nuclear Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received July 16, 2018; final manuscript received November 13, 2018; published online January 10, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Katja Holtta-Otto.

J. Mech. Des 141(3), 031103 (Jan 10, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-18-1571; doi: 10.1115/1.4042048 History: Received July 16, 2018; Revised November 13, 2018

Many tools, techniques, and other interventions have been developed to support idea generation within the design process. In previous research, we explored the separate effects of three such design interventions: teaming, problem framing, and design heuristics. In the teaming intervention, participants discussed a design prompt together but recorded their own ideas separately. In problem framing, multiple versions (framings) of each design prompt were used to elicit different solutions. In design heuristics, participants used specially designed cards to prompt new ways of thinking about the given design problem. In the current work, we compared the effects of these three interventions on students' design ideas with respect to one idea attribute in particular—quality. In total, 1088 design concepts were collected from 171 undergraduate students in engineering and industrial design from two universities. Individual cognitive style was also assessed using Kirton's Adaption–Innovation inventory (KAI). Six metrics taken from the design literature were used to assess the quality of each concept, namely: acceptability, applicability, clarity, effectiveness, implementability, and implicational explicitness. Paired t-tests and Pearson correlations were used to assess differences in quality between concepts generated with and without the three interventions; in addition, secondary effects were sought based on the cognitive styles and academic standings of the participants. Statistically significant differences were observed in design concept quality for the teaming and design heuristics interventions over the full sample and for some subgroups separated by cognitive style and academic standing. These results have implications for how educators teach design interventions and how students choose and apply interventions to affect the quality of their own design solutions.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Visual summary of the ideation flexibility project. Adapted from [4].

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

DPF: comparison of adaptive and innovative framings. Adapted from [3].

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

An example of the 77 DH cards ideation tool (front and back of card #76) [2] (Reprinted with permission of Design Heuristics LLC, copyright 2009)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Example flow of an ideation flexibility data collection session [4]

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