The Effect of Artifacts on Analogy in Innovative Design

The Effect of Artifacts on Analogy in Innovative Design

Artifacts on Analogy in Innovative Design Christian Schunn (University of Pittsburgh) Bo T. Christensen (Copenhagen Business School) Methodologies (terminology from Kevin Dunbar) Lab studies (in vitro) allows for experimentation; low validity; high control Case studies (in historico)

high validity, but cognitive details missing; no control Online observation (in vivo) access to cognitive details; high validity; no control Unpacking the Processes of Innovation External Analogy Environment Frequency Type

Innovation Studied Setting Followed 5-person product development team in a major international company dealing in medical plastics design won many design awards; industry leader Videotaped scheduled weekly brainstorming and product development meetings Analyzed 7 product development meetings (9 hours of video), collected over 5 months (conceptual design phase)

5800 segments of on-task speech coded Research Question 1 What kind of analogies do highly innovative designers use? Within-domain analogies? (More relevant) Between-domain analogies? (More novel) eorge de Mestral Cockleburrs Velcro

Distribution of analogies (N=102) Potato print Zippers Credit cards Milk cartons Shoes Cars Toilet paper Christmas decorations Water wheels Picture puzzle Venetian Blinds Underwear

Both analogies types common All meetings have both types Research Question 2 How does the external design environment shape what analogies occur (inspiration vs. 96% of design fixation)? no support sketches

(unconstrained) designers use sketches or prototypes during solution development (loosely constrained) prototypes (tightly constrained) Frequency of analogies by external

environment 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% %1% of segments with analogies 0% Idea Sketch Prototype

Fewer Analogies w/ Prototypes (no confound w/ phase of design) Interaction with distance 4% 3% idea 2% sketch prototype

1% 0% Prototype drop in analogies specific to between-domain analogies Within-domain Between-domain Research Question 3 What Role Do Analogies Play in Design? Just about explanation? Dunbar claims long distance

analogies only after the fact for explanation New answers? Or maybe potential problems? Observed Functions of Analogies in Design Distance by Function 100% 90% 80% 70%

60% 50% 40% 30% % Between Domain 20% 10% 0% Identify problem Solve problem Explain

Identify are local, explain are long distance Solve problem analogies are mixed! Communicative Alignment 2% 1% 0% Idea Prototype

Ideas require explain analogies Prototypes dont Conclusions Inventive designers use both withinand between-domain analogies between-domain not just for explanation helps highlight problems, not just answers Prototypes reduce between-domain analogizing (but sketches do not) Perhaps some rapid prototyping too rapid?

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