SUPPORTING IDEA GENERATION THROUGH FUNCTIONAL DECOMPOSITION: AN ALTERNATIVE FRAMING FOR DESIGN HEURISTICS
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Gaetano Cascini, Marco CantaMESsa, Dorian Marjanovic, Francesca Montagna
Author: Gray, Colin M.; Yilmaz, Seda; Daly, Shanna; Seifert, Colleen M.; Gonzalez, Richard
Institution: 1: Iowa State University, United States of America; 2: University of Michigan, United States of America
Section: Innovation and Creativity
This study explored how guided ideation can support concept initiation and development. We conducted a set of in-class activities in a junior-level industrial design studio at a large Midwestern US university with 20 students. Participants generated concepts individually while working on a previously defined problem. They performed a functional decomposition of existing concepts, then used a self-selected function to rapidly generate ideas in three stages over 45 minutes, supported by Design Heuristics cards. Through analysis of eight cases, we found that generated concepts were consistent with the originally defined function. The students ability to create a range of solutions increased over time, and concepts became more divergent through each of the three stages. Use of Design Heuristics changed, beginning as a tool for divergent concept generation (ideation), moving to a more mechanical transformation of existing concepts (iteration), and concluding with a broader, more evaluative synthetic framing (recomposition). Based on these results, we offer implications for the integration of idea generation methods across multiple stages in design and engineering contexts.