Design problem exploration

Creeger, Samantha
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Research Projects
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Industrial Design
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The problem generation space is a critical stage in the design process that reflects the outcome of a solution. However, limited research has been conducted on problem space within design education to aid in the creative process. Within the problem generation space, there are multiple alternative views to reframe a problem statement which ultimately impact the solution. More novel problem statements have reflected an increase in unique concepts. By providing a toolset for students to diversify their problems, new perspectives of the problem are taken into the idea generation space. Research has identified heuristics that frame a problem, which have found to be helpful.

Two studies are provided to understand the relationship between heuristics and reframed statements. Study 1 analyzed students’ reframed statements without the aid of heuristics. Sixteen strategies were observed in this classroom study. In Study 2, a digital tool with twelve identified strategies were used to provide a randomized selection for implementation. Design and engineer students were used in a classroom study; each completed three strategies to compare the outcomes. The goal of Study 2 was to identify whether the students implemented the strategies and how they used each within their statements. A complementary aim was to understand how much diversity was created among the new problems after strategy use. The research reported in this paper uncovers certain strategies that performed superior in various conditions amongst other strategies within the problem generation space.

Cognitive strategies, Design education, Design heuristics, Problem exploration