Exploring the utility of product dissection for early-phase idea generation

Christine A. Toh, Scarlett R. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Product dissection is a tool widely used in industry and academia as a means to understand components of existing products and identify opportunities for design. Dissection activities have the potential to impact design creativity because dissection is performed in the early phases of design, which is arguably the most influential phase of the design process. However, researchers have only just begun to explore the relationship between dissection and creativity, and thus little research to date has identified how variations in dissection activities impact creativity. Therefore, in this paper we respond to this research gap by presenting the results of a controlled experiment developed to understand how the type and number of products dissected and the structure and medium of the dissection task (electronic versus physical) impacts creativity. Our quantitative findings (from ANOVAs) are paired with qualitative analysis (interview results) to provide rationale for our results and insights into their cognitive underpinnings. The results from this study indicate that the structure of the dissection activity, the medium of dissection, and the number of products dissected impacts the variety of the generated concepts while the analogical distance and number of products impacts design novelty. These findings are used to develop recommendations for the alteration of dissection methods for inspiring creative thought in engineering design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; ASME 2013 Power Transmission and Gearing Conference
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ISBN (Print)9780791855928
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
EventASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2013 - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Aug 4 2013Aug 7 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume5

Conference

ConferenceASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2013
CountryUnited States
CityPortland, OR
Period8/4/138/7/13

Keywords

  • Design creativity
  • Product dissection
  • Variations in dissection activities
  • Virtual dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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    Toh, C. A., & Miller, S. R. (2013). Exploring the utility of product dissection for early-phase idea generation. In 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; ASME 2013 Power Transmission and Gearing Conference [V005T06A034] (Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference; Vol. 5). American Society of Mechanical Engineers. https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2013-13096