Open and Sustainable Innovation Systems (OASIS) Lab working notes

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Title: The role of timing and analogical similarity in the stimulation of idea generation in design



An experiment was conducted to gain an understanding of how people assimilate and apply newly acquired information when ideating solutions to a design problem by studying how the nature of problem-relevant information and timing of when it is given can affect idea generation in an open-ended design problem. More specifically, the effects of presenting surface similar information before design conceptualization, or surface dissimilar information before and during design conceptualization on the quantity, breadth, and novelty of solutions generated were analyzed. The effects of open goals, fixation, and priming, as well as their implications in design problem solving are examined. Itwasfound that information that is more distantly related to the design problem impacted idea generation more when there was an open goal to solve the problem, while information that is more obviously similar to the problem impacted idea generation more than distantly related information when seen before problem solving has begun. Evidence of induced design fixation and priming were also observed.

Referenced in


The "purpose" constraint of analogy-making as described here really maps well onto Ian, Ken, and Jared's work with open goals @tsengRoleTimingAnalogical2008, and also with Chris and Bo's stuff looking at the Opportunistic Assimilation Theory. The "purpose" constraint is an elegant heuristic for pruning the space of "slots" to consider in mapping source to target.

Z: Analogies can be a powerful driver of creative breakthroughs