Title: Do The Best Design Ideas (Really) Come From Conceptually Distant Sources Of Inspiration?
Design ideas often come from sources of inspiration (e.g., analogous designs, prior experiences). In this paper, we test the popular but unevenly supported hypothesis that conceptually distant sources of inspiration provide the best insights for creative production. Through text analysis of hundreds of design concepts across a dozen different design challenges on a Web-based innovation platform that tracks connections to sources of inspiration, we find that citing sources is associated with greater creativity of ideas, but conceptually closer rather than farther sources appear more beneficial. This inverse relationship between conceptual distance and design creativity is robust across different design problems on the platform. In light of these findings, we revisit theories of design inspiration and creative cognition.