Looking for Inspiration: Understanding the Information Evaluation and Seeking Behavior of Novice Designers During Creative Idea Generation

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

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Damen, Nicole; Toh, Christine
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Nebraska at Omaha
Section: Human behaviour in design and design cognition
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.185
ISSN: 2220-4342


Information usage is a key aspect of creative cognition and has been shown to influence design outcomes. The goal of this study was to investigate the information seeking behavior of student designers while validating a previously developed "Typology of Design Information" framework. Participants were asked to use and evaluate pieces of information during the idea generation process. Results show a discrepancy between the information that participants naturally sought out and their perceived utility (helpfulness) of the information. However, individually significant relationships between perceived utility and behavior were found with features generated by participants, suggesting that even though participants' perception of the utility of information pieces and their actual behavior are not related, both constructs have an identifiable influence on design outcomes. This study advances the Typology of Design Information framework by empirically exploring the link between the types of information used by novice designers and the ideas generated, and it illustrates that participants employ complex cognitive behavior when engaging with design information to generate novel ideas.

Keywords: Creativity, Conceptual design, Design cognition, Design education, Information management


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