The Riddle of Design Problem

Year: 2015
Editor: Amaresh Chakrabarti, Toshiharu Taura and Yukari Nagai
Author: Malhotra, A.; Poovaiah, R.
Institution: 1Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
Section: Brief Podium Papers
Page(s): 262-269
ISBN: 978-1-904670-60-5


Problem solving is not a uniform activity. Problems are not equivalent, in content, form, or process. Still very less research exists on the nature of design problems children should be solving to learn the design process or to build a certain kind of creative ability for divergent thinking. In this paper we explore the differences of solving different design problems and its result on divergent thinking in children. The paper presents an investigation of middle school students’ difference in design thinking process and design output for four different kinds of design problems. Twenty children of the age 11 to 14 participated in this study in four different groups. Each group solved a different kind of design problem. A qualitative analysis of the responses was done and participating groups were judged on the parameters of understanding the design problem and ideational flexibility in their responses. Preliminary analysis of the experiment revealed students’ lacked motivation to think beyond one solution. But comparative study shows difference between design outputs and number of variety of solutions generated for different design problems. The findings reveal that each design problem has its unique traits and it is difficult to choose one over the other. The paper discusses insights based on the outcome of this study and suggests a novel way of designing the instruction and the design problem in such a way that it encourages children to think creatively and to generate more solutions.

Keywords: collaboration, divergent thinking, problem solving, design pedagogy


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