Physical Examples in Engineering Idea Generation: an Experimental Investigation
Design fixation is a major concern in engineering idea generation because it restricts the solution space in which designers search for their ideas. For designers to be more creative, it is essential to mitigate fixation. The majority of studies investigate the role of pictorial stimuli in design fixation. The role of examples presented in other formats, including physical prototypes, is largely unknown. This paper presents a study that compares design fixation, in novice designers, caused by pictorial and physical representations. The effects of defixating materials are also investigated. The results show that both formats cause the same magnitude of fixation; however, participants utilizing physical examples produce a greater quantity of complete ideas. The defixation materials do not facilitate novice designers‘ mitigation of their fixation.