Many methods for design have been explored as the engineering community seeks to increase the efficiency, quality, and novelty of innovation. Some design methodologies are well equipped for use with any problem; others are best suited for specific domains or applications. Recent studies have developed two new independent methods for design. The first, WordTree Design-by-Analogy, uses a graphical structure of related words to help identify far-field analogies that have relevance to a given problem. The second method, Transformation Design, describes the mechanics and characteristics that drive the transformation of a reconfigurable mechanical system from one state to another. This paper presents a study of the effectiveness of these two methods in generating concepts for a specific problem statement requiring multiple sets of capabilities, i.e., tagging and tracking vehicles for military or civilian law enforcement purposes. Forty-one mechanical engineering students were assembled into groups and given specific guidelines to follow in generating concepts. A typical full-factorial experiment and ANOVA analysis was used to compare the effect of using the two design methods, as well as the interaction between them. Results from the design teams were evaluated quantitatively by the number concepts generated. Analysis of these results revealed that using the Transformation Design method increased the number of concepts developed by 25–30%. Use of the WordTree method was not judged to increase the number of concepts generated; however, the novelty and diversity of solutions were distinct for this method compared to Transformation Design or the control group.

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