Generating implications for design in practice: How different stimuli are retrieved and transformed to generate ideas

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Workshop Gemeinschaften in Neuen Medien (GeNeMe) 2016
Design idea generation is a significant part of a designer’s work and most frequently associated with creative problem solving. However, an outstanding challenge in design is translating empirical findings into ideas or knowledge that inform design, also known as generating implications for design. Though great efforts have been made to bridge this gap, there is still no overall consensus on how best to incorporate fieldwork data into the design idea generation process. The generation of design ideas is a process that is rooted in individual knowledge and is often considered a precedent-based type of reasoning, where knowledge is continuously transformed to produce new knowledge and this creative leap across the divide is very difficult. And it is believed that designers could potentially benefit from external stimuli that would provide a starting point or trigger and make the ideas generation more efficient. Most researchers have examined when and what type of stimuli designers used to support design idea generation. Nevertheless, it is still not clear how the different types of stimuli are retrieved and transformed during idea generation phases, and the knowledge transformation during this phases need to be clarified. In order to resolve this issue I conduct an open-ended semi-structured qualitative interview to learn about student and professional designers’ knowledge on how they select stimuli and transform it into design ideas, then compare with professor’s opinions. The interview would be conducted in terms of one-on-one face to face or online interview depending on the availability and accessibility of the interview respondents which would be audio recorded. Knowing more about how different designers, especially professional designers, to retrieve and transform preferred stimuli into ideas, and the design thinking involved in the process, is a significant step towards investigating the influence of stimuli during idea generation. Ultimately, I intend to build a general mechanism for designers to conduct an appropriate selection of functionally useful stimuli to transfer empirical findings to knowledge that inform design. The results try to help professional designers get more scientific structure, give student designers Visual Knowledge Media more practical guidance, but also help design education refine design idea generation methods and improve resulting techniques to discover a dynamic balance among theory and practice.
Sun, Ying (2016): Generating implications for design in practice: How different stimuli are retrieved and transformed to generate ideas. Workshop Gemeinschaften in Neuen Medien (GeNeMe) 2016. Dresden: TUDpress. pp. 157-169