DS 110: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2021), VIA Design, VIA University in Herning, Denmark. 9th -10th September 2021

Year: 2021
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Taoka, Yuki; Mihono, Haruhiko; Saito, Shigeki
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Section: Innovation and Creativity in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.29
ISBN: 978-1-912254-14-9


Concept generation in design projects generally has divergence phase and convergence phase. In the divergence phase, possibilities of design spaces are expanded (i.e. idea generation) while design options are evaluated and selected during the convergence phase (i.e. idea evaluation and selection). Since the creation of creative ideas is key during idea generation, factors enhancing creativity have been an area of interest in design research. One of the strategies is to have teams consisting of people from diversified backgrounds. The higher degree of diversity within a team make the team have access to more resources, which can lead to a higher degree of creativity. However, diversity in a team can also hinder the design process due to a decrease in common understandings and shared experiences. Diversity within a team can be further divided into many factors, such as age, gender, national culture, and education. Differences in disciplines are one kind of diversity, which is a well-supported factor to influence the degree of outcomes’ creativity. In order to support idea generation by multi-disciplinary teams, it is needed to analyze design discussion in details as well as evaluation of outcome. Linkography has been developed as a way to analyze and visualize design activities done by either individual or group. Linkography let researchers connect design moves, which is described as a small unit of verbalization lasting a few seconds in design activities. A research question of this paper is how the degree of disciplinary diversity within a team impacts on creativity of design outcomes and group discussion. This paper reports an investigation of an experiment which compares groups of art students and engineering students and groups of either art students or engineering students. A total of 16 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the experiments. The participants were divided into groups of four participants. The participants conducted two group work sessions; one in the non-diverse group (homogeneous): four students either from art or engineering, and the other in the diverse group (heterogeneous): two students from art and two from engineering. Within a session of the experiment, the participants generate and select ideas. This paper reports the first step of the session, which is a 10 minutes idea generation. The experiment is analyzed by three aspects; questionnaire assessing participants’ self-reflection, design outcomes assessing the degree of creativity of outcome, and Linkography assessing group dynamics. The questionnaire addresses to what extent each participant considers each aspect of creativity (novelty, usefulness, and feasibility) during idea generation. This paper aims to reveal multi-disciplinary group dynamics in comparison to single disciplinary teams during idea generation. Findings will be useful for academic researchers as well as educators and practitioners in design.

Keywords: Idea generation, disciplinary backgrounds


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