Abandoning creativity: The evolution of creative ideas in engineering design course projects

Elizabeth Starkey, Christine A. Toh, Scarlett R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Creativity training has been widely integrated into engineering education as a means to prepare students to be an innovative force in design industry. However, much of this research has focused on training students to be creative idea generators, with limited attention to what happens after this generation. Thus, the current study was developed to understand how creative ideas are promoted or filtered throughout the design process in order to focus our educational efforts. In order to accomplish this, an 8-week study with 136 engineering students was conducted. Our results point to the reduction in creativity throughout the design process and student abandonment of novel concepts. We also expose the influence of the design task on student creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-72
Number of pages26
JournalDesign Studies
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • concept selection
  • creativity
  • design education
  • engineering design
  • idea generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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