This paper introduces a framework for enhancing creative thinking in engineering design. As a flexible methodology, the proposed Creative Engineering Design (CED) framework integrates a new concept development tool, the Concept Assessment Taxonomy (CAT), which constitutes the core of the proposed methodology. By combining the procedures of concept generation, evaluation and selection in a single matrix, the CAT aims to systematize and simplify the overall conceptualization process, while delivering design process transparency.

Early trials have shown the effectiveness of the CED framework in offering procedural guidance and a better comprehension of the multifaceted nature of engineering design. It complements well-established textbook-methods in an effort to reduce ad-hoc and trial-and-error approaches, while minimizing decision-making based on intuition and guesswork.

In order to demonstrate its usefulness within a real world context, the proposed methodology is applied to a case study in the field of mechanical design: a new mechanical fuel injection system capable of curbing small engine emissions.

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