Over the past few years, academic institutions have become aware of the importance of innovation in education, as well as its broader role in strengthening the economy. Creativity and innovative thinking are not easily taught in the classroom, but they can be developed through practice and experience. Evaluating innovation as part of product design courses has thus become very important to increase the probability of students becoming innovators in the real world. Innovation tournaments provide universities with an opportunity to develop innovative design thinking in students while they gain practical experience. Understanding design innovation at a deeper level in the context of student design projects is critical to develop realistic perspectives among students. Determining the appropriate dimensions for understanding and measuring innovation is the main objective of this paper. Toward that objective, we conducted initial experiments in conjunction with an innovation award to develop and assess innovation metrics. The results reveal several dimensions of innovation: differentiability, creativity, need satisfaction, and probability of commercial success emerged as key dimensions. This research also assesses the perception of innovation, contrasting the perceptions of judges from industry with the views of academically oriented judges.

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