Design finds a way: Creative strategies to cope with barriers to creativity

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: Gonçalves, Milene
Series: ICED
Institution: Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 569-578
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


Creativity is quintessential in design ideation, as it fuels innovation in an ever-changing world. However, designers often experience states of being stuck and fixated, either on their own solutions, on examples or on the design process. A think-aloud protocol study and interviews were conducted with 31 novice designers in order to capture their strategies to cope with fixation and other types of hindrances to creativity. The findings corroborate past research on design fixation, adding a qualitative perspective to the existing growing body of knowledge on this topic. Furthermore, the study reveals the opportunistic and sometimes unexpected strategies designers apply in order to continue ideation. This paper contributes to the understanding of the opportunistic behaviour of designers in ideation and has implications for the study of design fixation and other barriers to creativity at the methodological level.

Keywords: Creativity, Design methods, Early design phases, Design fixation, Opportunism


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