BIOCARDS AND LEVEL OF ABSTRACTION
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Marco Cantamessa, Gaetano Cascini, Dorian Marjanovic, Srinivasan Venkataraman
Author: Lenau, Torben Anker; Keshwani, Sonal; Chakrabarti, Amaresh; Ahmed-Kristensen, Saeema
Institution: 1: DTU, Denmark; 2: Indian Institute of Science, India
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Design Processes
Biocards are formal descriptions of biological phenomena and their underlying functional principles. They are used in bioinspired design to document search results and to communicate the findings for use in the further design process. The present study explored the effect of abstraction level used in biocards. This was done in two workshops conducted with design students in Denmark and India. Students were given a design assignment and instructions for how to perform the BID ideation work. Half of the students were given biocards with abstract descriptions while the other half got biocards with concrete descriptions. The novelty of found solutions was evaluated by the students by rating novelty of each solution on a scale from 1 to 5. Mean values for abstract descriptions were 0,3 higher than for concrete descriptions indicating that more innovative solutions were found when students used biocards with abstract descriptions compared to concrete descriptions. The difference in mean value is significant with a confidence level better than 1%. It seems likely that more abstract descriptions in biocards helps avoiding design fixation in biomimetic design work.