Overcoming Design Fixation Through Education and Creativity Methods

Thomas J. Howard, Anja Maier, Balder Onarheim, Morten Friis-Olivarius

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This paper reports an experiment on the topic design fixation using 12 teams of masters students working on three design problems from (Jansson and Smith 1991). The objective of the experiment is to determine the effectiveness of two interventions to help overcome fixation on example solutions. The first intervention consisted of educating each team on the phenomena and effects of design fixation. The results showed that this intervention reduced the number of fixation elements in comparison to the control group (p=0.025). The second intervention involved using Dix et als' (2006) 'Bad Ideas' method during a final design task. The results showed that the method did not help the teams as it caused the fixation ratio to increase and the number of ideas per team to decrease. In addition to the above mentioned interventions, the experiment also revealed a negative correlation between the number of ideas produced per group and the groups' fixation ratios, adding to the quantity breads novelty debate. Finally, the study also provided further evidence of the hypothesis by Agogué et al (2011) that example solutions constructed from restrictive partitions have a greater fixation affect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
EditorsUdo Lindemann, Srinivasan Venkataraman, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, Petra Badke-Schaub, Keiichi Sato
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationSomerset
PublisherDesign Society
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)9781904670506
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event19th International Conference on Engineering Design. ICED 13 - Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 19 Aug 201322 Aug 2013
Conference number: 19


Conference19th International Conference on Engineering Design. ICED 13
LocationSungkyunkwan University
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address

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