Using crowdsourcing to provide analogies for designer ideation in a cognitive study

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: Goucher-Lambert, Kosa; Cagan, Jonathan
Series: ICED
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University, United States of America
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 529-538
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


Analogical reasoning is a prominent method for human creative design. The design research community has invested significant effort into understanding the process of design by analogy, including the impact of different types of analogies on design thinking and solution characteristics. Yet, generating those analogies is a challenge. The present work investigates whether it is possible to obtain useful analogies from individuals with no domain knowledge. To do this, individuals in a crowd workforce were asked to provide solutions for design problems previously explored in the literature. A text mining approach was used to extract commonly used words from these responses, which then served as analogies for problem solvers with design expertise. Finally, 111 participants were recruited for a cognitive study in which they were asked to solve four design problems using some subset of crowd-sourced analogical inspiration. Results indicate that it is feasible to gather impactful analogies from a crowd workforce. The usefulness of analogies at different analogical distances is highly dependent on the problem itself, highlighting the utility of obtaining analogies using the crowd.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Design by analogy, Conceptual design, Human behaviour in design


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