Creativity and Design Processes

December 5, 2009

It is broadly accepted that creativity and design are related processes in practice. But there is still need for further research to link in theory and practice. A promising approach is described for application within courses on design methods.

Most design courses offer students the opportunity of designing, and also provide know-how of general principles supporting the execution of design. Similar approaches can be found in courses on innovation and creativity.

It is hardly surprising that the areas are related. This idea was elaborated recently by Professor Margaret Bruce in The Companion to Creativity recently. As she put it

“Design is about doing things consciously and not because they have always been done in a certain way”.

Together with innovation researcher, Professor John Bessant, Margaret has developed a model in which design and innovation are linked through creativity. It occurred to me that the model could be tested within training programmes. I selected an approach which engaged the students in thinking about a specific product and then challenged them to design a new version of the product applying structures (process designs) to do so.

Partly because of my interest in Chess, I chose Chess Sets as the first artefact to be studied. There have been enormous variations in these over several centuries, and they have been to subject of design competitions for many years. Pilot studies began in November 2009, with the illustrations shown above.

I welcome contact from anyone wishing to try out the approach which I believe has wide application when modified for students of design, engineering, creativity and related fields of application. If you would like to contribute in any way, please contact me through this website.