Campus Units

Industrial Design

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

2011 Annual Conference & Exposition

Conference Title

2011 Annual Conference & Exposition

Conference Date

June 26-29, 2011




Teaching Design IdeationAbstractA continuous challenge for engineering students is to generate creative designs. Many times,creative outcomes can be traced to idea generation; however, engineering students struggle togenerate multiple ideas (Cross, 2001) and become attached to first ideas, even when they realizethose ideas have serious flaws or challenges (Ball et al., 1994; Rowe, 1987; Ullman et al., 1988).Even when students suggest creative ideas, they do not use a specific strategy that can help themexplore the larger potential solution space, limiting their ability to suggest alternative creativesolutions.The challenge for engineering educators, on the other hand, is how to teach students creativity inengineering design courses. Based on advanced student and practitioner data from engineeringand industrial design, we developed design strategies to support diverse and creative conceptsduring initial idea generation for the design of products. We call these strategies “designheuristics,” because, once integrated into a designer’s ideation process, they serve as cognitiveshortcuts for creative, multiple, and diverse idea generation.In this study, we provided a brief educational session about the design heuristics toapproximately 100 students in an introductory engineering course, and analyzed their designconcepts as a result of heuristic use. This paper demonstrates example outcomes of thoseconcepts, along with a discussion of the creativity and diversity of their ideas, and a comparisonto some example concepts for the same design problem that were generated without the use ofheuristics.


This is a proceeding from 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition; June 26-29, 2011. pg. 22. Posted with permission.


© 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference

Copyright Owner

American Society for Engineering Education



File Format



Article Location