Open and Sustainable Innovation Systems (OASIS) Lab working notes

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Z: Core attribute (mis)matches mediate the benefits of analogies in real-world, complex problem solving


Analogies are rarely a perfect match. There are always some mismatches.

Sometimes these mismatches are on "core" attributes, that seem "critical" to the problem. For example, someone working on nanoscale heat transfer may find it very important that any analogical match respect the core attribute of scale (nano).

We frequently see in our attempts to provide analogical inspirations to real-world creatives (e.g., scientists, engineers, designers), that Z: People rapidly reject analogical matches when there is a clear attribute mismatch.

However, the effect of core attribute mismatches on creativity is controversial. There are competing effects / explanations

What might explain the mixed effects of attribute mismatches on creative output?

One important distinction might be the timescale / immediacy of the effect of the analogy, with positive and negative impacts showing up at different timescales.

We sort of inch towards something like this in our experiments with Hyeonsu (WP: Augmenting scientific creativity with analogical inspirations), with our ideas about generative misalignment, and focusing more on "creative adaptation" vs. direct application

To be more precise, though, we're still evaluating the "worth" of individual ideas, instead of considering its downstream effects, which would be closer to the idea in Accretion theory of ideation

So maybe the way to think about this is in terms of different mechanisms or pathways of inspiration?

More direct path --> try to match on key domain constraints and attributes

More indirect path (not sure if higher ceiling, might just be needed for different problems) --> ignore matching, use generative misalignment??

could put an upper bound on what domains are actually useful: need to have some critical threshold of Z: Alignable differences

Could be mediated by whether those mismatches are on Z: Alignable differences

Z: Core attribute (mis)matches mediate the benefits of analogies in real-world, complex problem solving