DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Dekoninck, Elies; Barrie, Jeffrey; Linley, Aaron
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Bath, United Kingdom
Section: Diversity
Page(s): 670-675
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


The most common early-stage design technique is brainstorming based on Osborne’s classical rules.
This paper contributes to research which explores how brainstorming should be taught in the
engineering design education. The research presented in this paper aims to understand the effects of
brainstorming with, and without rules, and compares the productivity of each condition. Eight
brainstorming sessions were held and recorded. These controlled tests used 2 groups (A and B) of 3
male participants, all in their 3rd and 4th year of Mechanical, Aerospace or Automotive Engineering at
the University of Bath. The paper reports on the results from those controlled design experiments
showing how rules affected the quality and quantity of ideas generated through the variance of
moment-to-moment, interpersonal interactions. Quantity and quality were analysed by the researcher
using a Likert scale and an inter-observer reliability check whilst the interpersonal interactions were
analysed using Solnakar’s Interaction Dynamics Notation (IDN). The results showed that the Natural
condition - on average - generated 7.75 more ideas per test and 4.25 more good ideas per test, than the
Rule condition. The IDN analysis highlighted the specific blocking effects which generated a
significant number of ideas directly, by overcoming blocks, or indirectly, by blocking-inspired
conversation. The controlled results also showed that participants in the Natural condition evaluated
the ideas more effectively using intuition.

Keywords: Brainstorming, rules, criticism, blocking, controlled experiment.


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