How pre-ideation methods and skills affect and remove barriers to ideation

Joran W Booth, Purdue University


Creativity and innovation are essential for effective engineering, but what is needed to be creative? More importantly, what blocks creativity in engineers? Prior work tells us that having technical knowledge, building a design space and problem definition, and sketching are all necessary for effective design. However, any one of these things can be interrupted. Additionally, we observe in art that cognitive warm-ups can also be an effective tool for preparing the mind for a creative session. This thesis aims to understand the best methods for building technical knowledge from product dissection, better understand the process of defining the design space, explore what causes engineers to be inhibited from sketching, and experiment with cognitive warm-ups for ideation. Based on the findings from these four topics, I recommend that engineers use any method for learning how things work but to do so frequently. I also recommend using methods such as functional decomposition for defining a design space, however for the sake of getting a team to a consensus and not for driving functional thinking. Additionally, engineers should use the art-based activities proposed in this thesis if they feel reluctant to sketch. Finally, I conclude that warm-ups are important activities for any ideation session, especially the art-based ones designed for improving cognition.




Reid, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Design|Mechanical engineering

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