Is Ownership Bias Bad? The Influence of Idea Goodness and Creativity on Design Professionals Concept Selection Practices

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Abstract

Ownership bias is a decision-making bias that leads to an individual's tendency to prefer their own ideas over others' during the design process. While prior work has identified the existence of this ownership bias in design professionals, limited work has investigated how the characteristics of the idea set affects this bias. In other words, is a preference for one's own ideas a bad thing if the ideas are truly better? This paper seeks to fill this research void through two design thinking workshops conducted with 45 design professionals recruited from two engineering companies. During the study, the participants individually generated and selected ideas as part of a 2-h team design challenge. The ideas generated were then rated for: (1) their perceived future value by the design team and (2) their creativity by expert raters. The results suggest that design professionals only exhibited ownership bias for ideas that were assessed to have little to no future value in the design process (low in idea goodness). In addition, professionals showed preferences for self-generated ideas that were of high usefulness and elegance but low in creativity, indicating an impact of creativity on ownership bias. These findings provide new evidence on the negative effects of ownership bias on the design process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021106
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions Of the ASME
Volume141
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

Cite this

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title = "Is Ownership Bias Bad? The Influence of Idea Goodness and Creativity on Design Professionals Concept Selection Practices",
abstract = "Ownership bias is a decision-making bias that leads to an individual's tendency to prefer their own ideas over others' during the design process. While prior work has identified the existence of this ownership bias in design professionals, limited work has investigated how the characteristics of the idea set affects this bias. In other words, is a preference for one's own ideas a bad thing if the ideas are truly better? This paper seeks to fill this research void through two design thinking workshops conducted with 45 design professionals recruited from two engineering companies. During the study, the participants individually generated and selected ideas as part of a 2-h team design challenge. The ideas generated were then rated for: (1) their perceived future value by the design team and (2) their creativity by expert raters. The results suggest that design professionals only exhibited ownership bias for ideas that were assessed to have little to no future value in the design process (low in idea goodness). In addition, professionals showed preferences for self-generated ideas that were of high usefulness and elegance but low in creativity, indicating an impact of creativity on ownership bias. These findings provide new evidence on the negative effects of ownership bias on the design process.",
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