Assessing Design Heuristics for Idea Generation in an Introductory Engineering Course

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2012-01-01
Authors
Daly, Shanna
Christian, James
McKilligan, Seda
Yilmaz, Seda
Seifert, Colleen
Gonzalez, Richard
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Industrial Design
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Industrial Design
Abstract

Design Heuristics are prompts that encourage design space exploration during concept generation. Design Heuristics were developed by analyzing trends in innovative products and patterns in ideation by engineering and industrial designers of varying experience levels. In this study, 48 freshmen engineering students were given a short design task and a set of twelve Design Heuristics Cards. Each card described a heuristic, and gave two examples of its application in a product. Students were asked to create new design concepts using the heuristics. The results showed that the concepts created without Design Heuristics were less developed, and were often replications of known ideas or minor changes to existing products. However, concepts created using Design Heuristics resulted in more developed, creative designs. Students often applied the same heuristic in multiple ways, supporting our premise that the heuristics lead to exploring multiple solutions. The results also showed that some students readily applied the heuristics, while others struggled to understand how to apply them.

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This article is from International Journal of Engineering Education, 2012 28(2); 463-473. Posted with permission.

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