Guilford’s Alternate Uses Test (ALTU) measures a person’s spontaneous flexibility, a propensity for generating many varied responses to a situation, by requiring them to list six possible uses for a given object. Shah’s metrics of ideation effectiveness measure the innovative qualities of engineering concepts with similar scales. The study presented in this paper explores the relationship between spontaneous flexibility and engineering concept generation through a research study. Fifty-two participants generated ideas for three items on a spontaneous flexibility test (SFT) and three problems on an engineering ideation test (EIT). The participants’ responses were analyzed for fluency and flexibility. Correlations between the SFT and EIT were identified in order to better understand the role of spontaneity and divergent thinking in an engineering environment. It was found that both fluency and flexibility of responses were strongly correlated between the two test types. It is hypothesized that the EIT complements the SFT in measuring spontaneous flexibility in engineering design.

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