Facilitating creativity in interdisciplinary design teams using cognitive processes: A review

Roni Reiter-Palmon, Salvatore Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Interdisciplinary, or cross-functional, teams have become quite common for engineering and design. Many of today’s scientific breakthroughs occur in interdisciplinary teams, as the increasingly complex problems facing society often cannot be addressed by single disciplines alone. However, fostering creative and productive collaboration in interdisciplinary teams is no easy challenge. First, leading creative teamwork is difficult by itself. Second, many of the factors that impede teams and teamwork in general are exacerbated in interdisciplinary teams as a result of differences between team members. In this paper, we will review the team creativity psychology and management literature, and discuss how cognitive processes that facilitate creativity can be used by engineering and design teams. Specifically, past research has shown problem construction that allows teams to develop a structure to guide solving ambiguous problems. Further, problem construction allows teams to develop a shared understanding of the problem which aids in later processes. While there is significant research on idea generation, results suggest that teams may not be better at this than individuals. In this review, we discuss how idea generation in teams can mitigate some of the issues that lead to this effect. Finally, team research has only recently began to determine what factors influence idea evaluation and selection for implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-394
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Review
  • creative problem solving
  • creativity
  • design
  • engineering
  • innovation
  • interaction
  • interdisciplinary teams
  • teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering

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