Time Constraints in Design Idea Generation

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Liikkanen, Lassi A.; Björklund, Tua A.; Hämäläinen, Matti M.; Koskinen, Mikko P.
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 81-90

Abstract

It is generally believed that time pressure can hamper creative work. For design researchers, this belief is only one of the many time related claims that are short of scientific basis. During previous years, design research has witnessed the birth of design idea generation research. This has lead to a range of systematic, psychologically-motivated studies that have identified principles behind a successful, efficient idea generation process. With this regard, it is surprising the effects of time constraints have not been thoroughly investigated so far. In this review we seek to clarify the temporal dimension. We introduce three categories for time related effects: duration of a task, time decomposition of a task, and time pressure. For each category we review studies regarding its effect on idea generation. The main discoveries are that time decomposition can increase ideation productivity, and while time pressure usually increases productivity, creativity can be compromised by both scarcity and abundance of time. We conclude by arguing that the controlled application of these time constraints can increase productivity and creativity within design idea generation.

Keywords: Idea generation, creativity, design cognition, time pressure, conceptual design

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