A QUALITATIVE INVESTIGATION OF IDEATION PRACTICES IN ENGINEERING AND PRODUCT DESIGN
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Gaetano Cascini, Marco Cantamessa, Dorian Marjanovic, Frederico Rotini
Author: Currano, Rebecca; Henriksson, Emily
Institution: Stanford University, United States of America
Section: Design Methods and Tools - part 1
We use semi-structured interviews to examine ideation practices from a more comprehensive perspective, with the objectives: 1) to further explore the variety of activities that serve as catalysts for creative ideation in engineering design projects, 2) to examine the qualities and attributes of these activities and the context in which they take place, and 3) to discern principles which may underlie the usefulness of various activities for creative ideation. This study builds upon our previous work, increasing the number of interview participants from 7 to 20, and extending the pool of participants to include design instructors and industry practitioners as well as students.
We identified 190 activities described by participants as reflective practices for ideation, and eleven characteristic traits, or attributes, frequently associated with these activities. Some notable trends emerged, such as the frequent mention of activities allowing mental disengagement, activities involving social interaction, and activities involving physical exercise. This paper presents the results of this extended study, and suggests principles underlying successful ideation strategies employed by many designers.