The objective of this paper is to present experimental results of a specific ideation method TRIZ (an abbreviation of a Russian acronym of “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch” meaning theory of inventive problem solving) as compared to ad hoc methods used by students. It is critical to understand how and why TRIZ works as it can lead to improvements on how to teach this method, and also how to analyze ideation methods in general. Our hypothesis is that TRIZ improves the creativity level of subjects using it as observed in the produced design outcomes. The experiments were conducted simultaneously at two institutions: University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and University of Maryland (UMD). The results were analyzed as part of an existing research partnership with Pennsylvania State University (PSU). The ideation task present here has been used in all three institutions; it is the redesign of a traffic light that uses light-emitting diodes (LED) instead of incandescent bulbs leading to snow build-up on the lights in certain climates as LED's generate less heat to melt the snow. UTEP and UMD student groups were tasked with redesigning the LED traffic lights to resolve this issue. The assessment was performed on the outcome (i.e., ideas generated) using quantity, novelty and variety as metrics. Numerical results of these metrics are shown along with conclusions based on observations of the experimental process. Data presented in this paper conclude that TRIZ does improve the ideation effectiveness metrics Novelty and Variety while slightly reducing Quantity when compared to a control group using ad hoc ideation methods.

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