Collaborative Fixation in Early Problem Exploration and Ideation Workshops

Year: 2016
Editor: Julie Linsey, Maria Yang, and Yukari Nagai
Author: Miko Laakso, Tua A. Björklund and Senni Kirjavainen
ISBN: 978-1-904670-82-7


Most studies on design fixation have been conducted in experimental setups, with
individuals ideating or sketching in response to relatively simple tasks. Fixation resulting from
exposure to ideas and perceptions of others in a group situation has been less explored. This
study investigated how an early exploration and ideation workshop in complex, interdisciplinary
student design projects influenced both the problem representations and the solution ideas of
team members. The results reveal that when a perspective dominated the initial representations
of the team, it was further emphasized after the workshop. Teams having more equal initial
distributions in perspectives remained more balanced. However, technological considerations
tended to increase even then. The proportion of generic statements decreased with nearly all
teams becoming more focused on the particulars of their project. The results suggest that the
possibility of early commitment to initially dominant perspectives should be acknowledged and
possibly mitigated for.

Keywords: design fixation, problem representation, idea generation, interdisciplinary teams

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