ASSOCIATIVE THINKING AS A DESIGN STRATEGY AND ITS RELATION TO CREATIVITY
DS 68-7: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 7: Human Behaviour in Design, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Badke-Schaub, P.
Author: Casakin, Hernan
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Associative thinking can help designers to reflect over a problem situation by focusing on unrelated perspectives. During this process, a mapping of high order relations can be established between a source and a target situation. Associative thinking has much to contribute to design in general, and to design creativity in particular. This research centered on a particular form of associative thinking concerned with metaphorical reasoning. The aim was to analyze empirically the relation between associative thinking and creativity. A particular form of associative thinking based on the use of metaphors in the design studio was considered, and its relationship to the four standard creativity factors proposed by Gilford was explored. Results indicated that originality and elaboration were the most dominant factors characterizing metaphorical thinking during the design process. In contrast, fluency and flexibility were the weakest factors, poorly correlated with most variables of metaphorical thinking.Findings from this study have implications not only for design in general, but also for design education.