Concept integration in the creative design process

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The main purpose of this research is to elucidate the nature of the design thinking process in order to gain knowledge of design creativity. Concept integration, which is considered as a specific feature of design, is identified in order to extract the characteristics of its process and the factors leading to creativity. For this purpose, three experiments involving design tasks at the conceptual level were carried out. The think-aloud method was used for data collection. Protocol analysis and semi-structured interviews (extended protocol analysis) were adopted to investigate design thinking in concept integration. The design ideas were evaluated by evaluators on the basis of two dimensions: 'practicality' and 'originality'. The findings of the study were as follows: (1) high distances between concepts enhance concept integration, (2) there is a significant correlation between the expansion of thought space of designers and the creativity scores of their design ideas, (3) frequent instances of recognition of thematic relations among concepts results in the expansion of thought space, (4) more frequent action concepts (a category of association concepts) lead to creativity in concept integration. Based on the above findings, the key characteristics of the creative design process were identified. These characteristics were: dissimilarity between concepts (which is important for concept integration) and the thematic association process of designers. Based on of these findings, a framework of concept integration in design was proposed, focusing on the 'meanings' of artefacts. The feasibility of this framework of concept integration for a design methodology is discussed drawing upon interviews with IT technologists. In order to contribute to design methodology, the findings of the study are described, applying the previous models that represented features of creative design from the viewpoint of knowledge work, strategy and insight. The conclusions of this study address the importance of concept integration in thematic relations and some of the remaining open issues in this field.
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