Abstract

Ideation methods have been extensively studied, and several ideation methods can be beneficial in different contexts, but it is not understood what makes a specific method work. Previous work has shown that all the ideation methods comprise of 25 fundamental ideation mechanisms in two categories: idea implementation and idea promoting mechanisms. In this study, we try to understand how individual mechanisms affect idea generation outcomes. We chose four idea promoting mechanisms: two from the process category (Classification & Combination) and two from the idea sources category (Building on Others and Stimulation). These mechanisms were selected as they are examples of comparable mechanisms that could easily be integrated into any other ideation method. We conducted four experiments and assessed idea quantity, novelty, and originality. Our study showed that the chosen mechanism increased ideation performance. For the most part, the mechanisms are statistically equivalent, but we found evidence that classification outperforms combination in a simple ideation exercise. We also found the building on others can be more useful than the type of stimulation used in engineering concept generation, but the difference was not found in a simple ideation exercise. Overall, we find evidence that all mechanisms improve ideation effectiveness and could be incorporated into any ideation method, but further studies are needed to build more comprehensive understanding

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