CULTURALLY-SENSITIVE TOOLS FOR DESIGN GROUP IDEATION IN A JAPANESE CONTEXT
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Taoka, Yuki; Kagohashi, Kaho; Saito, Shigeki; Mougenot, Celine
Institution: Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Section: Creativity and Innovation in Design and Engineering Education
In engineering education at Japanese universities, design has recently been seen as a way of developing students’ mindset toward real life problem solving. In design project-based learning, students from various academic backgrounds team up in a “co-design” process. Co-design is common in Europe, especially in the Nordic countries where it originated, while it is rather unusual in Japan. Since designing consists in social activities like group discussion, cultural differences between Japan and the Nordic countries are expected to impact the way to map co-design into a Japanese context. Our objective is to create design education approaches that suit Japanese cultural context. Taking cultural differences into account, our main hypothesis is that anonymity might increase Japanese designers’ engagement, which would lead to higher creativity and more feedback in ideation activities. We developed new tools that provide anonymity during design activities and assessed them experimentally with sixteen Japanese students, in terms of perceived engagement of the designers and of the design outcomes. Findings show that anonymity leads to higher fluency and higher engagement in idea generation. Introduction of anonymity also increases critical discussion, while it remarkably decreased engagement of participants in idea selection. In this paper, we discuss how cultural characteristics should be taken into account when creating design tools and methods and, more generally, how design education should be tailored to specific cultural contexts.