A DESIGN INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE OF DESIGN PROCESS IN FOSTERING CREATIVE EXPLORATION OF IDEAS AND CONCEPTS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF DESIGN PROJECTS OF ENGINEERING STUDENTS
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Joshi, Purba; Sinha, Sharmila
Institution: Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India, India
Section: Creativity 3
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.6
Creativity forms the base for innovation. Successful implementation of a creative idea can lead to innovation. As per De Bono, creativity deals with the transformation of existing ideas, views and approaches of doing things to new ones. In the process of idea generation external sources of information is tapped to open multiple resource domains. To avoid the risk of inadequate exploration and biased adoption of solutions, analogies can act as stimulants to evoke a plethora of radical ideas. When developing solutions, one is only able to notice a limited section of the environment, due to constraints of his/her limited cognitive abilities and due to established thinking patterns.
Knowledge and thinking style are key attributes of creative problem solving. Knowledge and experience lay substantial foundation for creativity and design thinking serves as the backbone of creativity. Design thinking can facilitate thinking outside closed areas of one’s expertise, allowing the scope of exploration to build rich new knowledge. Substantial innovations often result from transferring problem solutions from one industry or domain to another through fusion of knowledge that has not been connected before. Coyne et al mention that creativity is concerned with explorations within a space that is only partially defined as against Innovation as a process of exploration in a defined space3. The paraphernalia that defines search space in design is knowledge. Creativity involves searching for new knowledge.
To analyze these effects an exploratory study was conducted with undergraduate engineering students. Their application of design process in coming up with creative design solutions for given design task was recorded and analyzed. Results demonstrate that divergent & convergent thinking is stimulated with the help of analogies, improving the idea originality and diversity. Creative association is a powerful tool when trying to understand a new situation or solve a new problem. According to Gero, unexpected design solutions are a product of the confluence of two schemas mediated through an analogy. Schema is “a mental template that automatically or intuitively guides our perceptions and interpretations of our experience. It involves deconstructing the problem, then redefines the solution space of the problem. Indirect thinking and expression improve creativity and may inspire designer to come up with different and novel solutions. Kulogun et al mention, “To perceive, interpret and communicate the world and the facts differently is an important goal of design education and can be obtained through creative thinking”. “Design activity itself is a relation between thought and expression”.
The study aims to identify hindrances in learning the stages of the design process and help redefine opportunities for creative representation to maximize idea generation. The study suggests that design education in non‐design disciplines can enhance the creative exploration and facilitate innovative problem solutions. Creativity techniques when initiated through training can tap knowledge resource dynamically and generate innovative ideas.