The design problem framework: Using adaption-innovation theory to construct design problem statements

Eli M. Silk, Shanna R. Daly, Kathryn Jablokow, Seda Yilmaz, Meisha Nicole Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ideation is the process of generating ideas for solving design problems, and it is a critical part of the overall design process. In order to encourage designers to ideate across a broader spectrum of ideas, we developed the Design Problem Framework (DPF) to assist in the development and framing of design problem statements. Part of the basis for the DPF was research on cognitive styles, which suggests that there is a range of preferences for approaching problem solving, and that these preferences influence how different individuals naturally approach ideation. We used Kirton's Adaption-Innovation theory as a basis for understanding the range of cognitive styles. The other part of the basis for the DPF was research on problem framing, which suggests that the structure of design problem statements influences an individual's approach and the outcomes produced. Using the DPF as a foundation, we propose that design problems that encourage adaptive ideation behaviors include more specified constraints, along with criteria for solutions that build on already existing solutions to the same or similar problems. In contrast, design problems that encourage innovative ideation behaviors include criteria for solutions that are radically different from existing solutions and are not bound by specific constraints. In this paper, we present a set of five design problems constructed using the DPF, with three different versions of each problem statement: (1) a neutrally framed version; (2) an adaptively framed version; and (3) an innovatively framed version. Three examples of student-generated solutions are also discussed to illustrate the resulting outcomes. We propose this framework as a guide for the development of design problem statements for use in education, research, and the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014

Other

Other121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education
CountryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN
Period6/15/146/18/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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    Silk, E. M., Daly, S. R., Jablokow, K., Yilmaz, S., & Rosenberg, M. N. (2014). The design problem framework: Using adaption-innovation theory to construct design problem statements. Paper presented at 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education, Indianapolis, IN, United States.