Traditionally, the ideation of design opportunities and new concepts relies on human expertise or intuition and is faced with high uncertainty. Inexperienced or specialized designers often fail to explore ideas broadly and become fixed on specific ideas early in the design process. Recent data-driven design methods provide external design stimuli beyond one’s own knowledge, but their uses in rapid ideation are still limited. Intuitive and directed ideation techniques, such as brainstorming, mind mapping, Design-by-Analogy, SCAMPER, TRIZ and Design Heuristics may empower designers in rapid ideation but are limited in the designer’s own knowledge base. Herein, we harness data-driven design and rapid ideation techniques to introduce a data-driven computer-aided rapid ideation process using the cloud-based InnoGPS system. InnoGPS integrates an empirical network map of all technology domains based on the international patent classification which are connected according to knowledge distance based on patent data, with a few map-based functions to position technologies, explore neighborhoods, and retrieve knowledge, concepts and solutions in the near or far fields for design analogies and syntheses. The functions of InnoGPS fuse design science, network science, data science and interactive visualization and make the design ideation process data-driven, theoretically-grounded, visually-inspiring, and rapid. We demonstrate the procedures of using InnoGPS as a data-driven rapid ideation tool to generate new rolling toy design concepts.

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