Assessing The Impact Of Abstract Representations And Reframing Of Design Brief Information On Creative Ideation

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Kang, Jacob Kai Siang (1,2); Meurzec, Rianne Wally (1); Chia, Pei Zhi (1); Wood, Kristin L. (1,2); Koronis, Georgios (1,2); Silva, Arlindo (1,2)
Series: ICED
Institution: Singapore University of Technology and Design
Section: Design creativity
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


The overarching goal of this work is to support creative ideation in engineering design with the aim of overcoming design fixation. We study the impact of abstract representations and ways to frame the problem in design briefs on the creativity of concept sketches. Framing/Reframing involves shifting perspectives on the design purpose and to reveal insights and opportunities. Two Framing/Reframing techniques are tested: the Ishikawa/Fishbone Diagram to identify root causes and a blend of Parnes? Restatement/SCAMPER method to encourage divergence in problem perception. Abstract representations of requirements were used as stimuli to foster transfer and associative thinking. Using a full-factorial experimental design with brief variations, C-Sketch ideas developed by first-year engineering/architecture students were evaluated for their creativity. Our results showed a positive interaction effect for novelty and usefulness when the Fishbone Reframing method was used with abstract representation, but there was no difference in creativity scores when comparing the two Framing/Reframing methods between each other.

Keywords: Creativity, Conceptual design, Collaborative design, Requirements, New product development


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