Creativity as a way to innovate successfully

DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 8: Human Behaviour in Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Guenther, Agnes; Eisenbart, Boris; Dong, Andy
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; 2: The University of Sydney, Australia
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 389-398
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


Selecting innovative design concepts for further development entails decision making under conditions of sometimes extreme uncertainty pertaining to technical feasibility and market potential. In such situations, decision makers all too often become risk averse and reliant on known metrics that are inherently based on deductive and inductive logics. In prior research, however, good decision making on innovation has been linked with the complementary use of another form of logic: abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning changes the mind-set of decision makers to become intrinsically forward thinking and explorative towards innovation opportunity. In this paper, we present an experimental study suggesting that the cognitive, creative capabilities of humans correlate positively with their use of abductive reasoning in decision making. We are further able to show that a higher level of abductive reasoning leads to significantly better, i.e. more accurate, decisions in selecting successful innovation concepts. These findings have strong implications for companies seeking to improve their innovative performance, specifically, how and by whom decisions on innovation should be made.

Keywords: Abductive reasoning, Design thinking, Decision making, Innovation, Creativity


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