Using Ideation Tools for Face-to-face Collaboration Within Complex Design Problems

Spellman, Kevin James. 2010. Using Ideation Tools for Face-to-face Collaboration Within Complex Design Problems. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]


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Abstract or Description

The focus of this research are ideation tools and their ability to catalyse ideas to address complex design problems. Complex design problems change over time and the interactions among the components of the problem and the interaction between the problem and its environment are of such that the system as a whole cannot be fully understood simply by analyzing its components (Cilliers 1998, pp. I). Ideation for this research is defined as a process of generating, developing and communicating ideas that are critical to the design process (Broadbent, in Fowles 1979, pp. 15). Based on Karni and Arciszewski, who stated that ideation tools should act more like an observer or suggester rather than controller or an expert, I defne design ideation tools as tools or methods that enhance, increase and improve the user's ability to generate ideas with the client (Karni and Arciszewski 1997; Reineg and Briggs 2007).

Based on a survey of over 70 ideation tools, protocol analysis of design activities, a web survey and semistructured interviews, I conclude that designers and clients may not have sufficient knowledge of ideation or ideation tools in either testing or practice as a catalyst for generating possibilities and that measuring ideation tools based on how many ideas they generate is misleading because it relates creativity and idea generation but does not adequately reflect the participants' experience. This research suggests that participants' cultural perceptions of design ideation and the design process actively inhibit idea generation and that a shift from design outcome led ideation tool design to designing ideation tools that engage design contexts are necessary to effectively address complex design problems. This research identifed a gap in ideation tools for designers to collaborate with their clients during the ideation phase to catalyse possibilities to complex design problems as the contribution to new knowledge.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


complexity, creativity, ideation, ideation tool, practice-led research

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23 August 2010

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Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2012 17:45

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:32


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