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NSF Innovation and Discovery Workshop, 2006. Empirical Studies of Collaborative and Analogical Product Design: Implications on Innovation and Discovery. Kristin L. Wood Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in Engineering & University Distinguished Teaching Professor

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Nsf innovation and discovery workshop 2006

NSF Innovation and Discovery Workshop, 2006

Empirical Studies of Collaborative and Analogical Product Design: Implications on Innovation and Discovery

Kristin L. Wood

Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in Engineering &

University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering

The University of Texas

Presentation roadmap
Presentation Roadmap

  • Acknowledgements:

    • NSF Grant: DMI-00631350

    • “Fundamental Studies of Generating Concepts Through Design-by-Analogy”

    • Co-PI: Professor Art Markman

    • GRA’s: Julie Linsey and Jeremy Murphy

  • Prelude/Overture

    • MaDLab and LFF Innovations

    • MaDLab Design Methods

    • Parallel Research Objectives

  • Tenor

    • Collaborative Design Study

    • Problem Representation in Design by Analogy

      • Analogical Applications

    • Abstractions to Design Principles

  • Finale

    • Implications, Questions, Golden Nuggets, and Potential Pitfalls

Madlab and lff innovations
MaDLab and LFF Innovations

  • >15 Patents:

  • >200 Products with >60 Companies:

  • Fifteen International Design Competition Awards

Madlab design methods
MaDLab Design Methods

Transformer Design Principles: Fuse / Divide

Make single functional device become two or more devices, at least one of which has its own distinct functionality or vice versa

1. Product 2. Natural Analogy 3. Patent

This audio player which functions when the USB flash drive, also used as a memory stick, connects to a power source module making the audio player portable


Army ants join their bodies to form a bridge for the rest of the colony

US 4,856,775

The base of the exercise machine in this patent divides into two supporting structures for a different exercise arrangement

Madlab design methods1
MaDLab Design Methods

UAV “Compact Storage” Mind Map:

Wings in container

Roll wing around fuselage

“Bird wing”

Wings in fuselage


1 wing inside another

Roll up wing

Fold/ Stack

Fuselage = container





Slap bracelet


Plane = Tools


Store / Fly

Whole plane in container

Expand/ Collapse

Wing inside other

Body Armor






Wings inside fuselage

Disassemble plane

Flexible Material


MAV in 2 halves

Shape Memory Alloy

Wing or body compose other part

Wing/ fuselage compose other devices



Research objectives
Research Objectives

  • To understand how key parameters of Idea Generation Techniques affect design outcomes…

  • To explore the effects of representation on analogy use for real-world engineering design and product development problems…

Idea generation techniques
Idea Generation Techniques

  • Over one hundred formal idea generation techniques

  • Well-known Brainstorming – Osborn

  • Engineering specific method: Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)

Adams, J. L., 1986, Conceptual Blockbusting, Perseus Books, Cambridge, ME.

VanGundy, A. B., 1988, Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, NY

Higgins, J. M., 1994, 101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques, The New Management Publishing Company, Winter Park, FL.

Osborn, A., 1957, Applied Imagination. Scribner, New York, NY.

Altshuller, G. S., 1984, Creativity as an Exact Science, Gordon and Breach Publishers, Luxembourg.

Techniques empirically tested with design problems
Techniques Empirically Tested with Design Problems

  • Brainstorming(Lewis, Sadosky, and Connolly, 1975)

  • Brainwriting, Brainstorming, and others(Gryskiewicz, 1988)

  • 6-3-5, C-Sketch, Gallery Method(Shah et al., 1998-2001)

  • Brainsketching, Brainstorming(Van der Lugt, 2002)

  • Variants of Brainstorming that included sketching, and physical models(Vidal, Mulet, and Gómez-Senent, 2004)

Experiment 2 x 3 factorial
Experiment: 2 X 3 Factorial

  • Factor 1: How ideas are exchanged and displayed

    • Rotational Viewing

    • All view simultaneous via gallery style

  • Factor 2: Forms of Communication

    • Written words only

    • Sketches only

    • A combination of words and sketches

Experimental set up
Experimental Set-Up Technique

  • Teams of 5 senior ME students

    • A total of 12 teams

  • Prescribed form of communication and how ideas are displayed

  • 1st Time Period: 10 minutes

    • individuals silently generate ideas

  • Time Periods 2-5:

    • ideas are exchanged and 7 minutes are spent generating ideas

  • Short survey

Nsf innovation and discovery workshop 2006

Peanut Sheller Product TechniqueDevelopment

Results qualitative
Results: Qualitative Technique

Person 1

Person 2



Results qualitative1
Results: Qualitative Technique

Person 3

Person 4

Person 5

Results quantitative
Results: Quantitative Technique


Word & Sketches

Words Only

Sketches Only

Rotational Viewing


Results quantitative 2 x 2 anova
Results: Quantitative 2 X 2 ANOVA Technique

Main Effects

Words & Sketches


Rotational Viewing

Words Only

Results building from others ideas
Results: Building from Others’ Ideas Technique

Building from Others


Survey Technique

  • A strong dislike of being restricted to either words or sketches only

Analogical research questions
Analogical Research Questions Technique

  • What forms of analogical representation are most useful for innovative design?

  • What are the fundamental and underlying principles that make analogies useful to a designer?

  • What benefits are there to physical models in design-by-analogy? What types of problems do they highlight? What limitations do they add?

  • What are the effects of different manipulative media in the idea generation process? Which ones lead to design fixation, and which ones are most beneficial for concept development?

Examples of analogy
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Device that allows repeatable printing

Wine Press

Gutenberg Printing Press

Examples of analogy1
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Telegraph capable of sending and receiving multiple messages simultaneously

Quadreplex Telegraph

Water Distribution System

Examples of analogy2
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Device that provides pseudorandom frequency changes for transmission encryption

Player Piano

Frequency-hopping Radio Transmission

Examples of analogy3
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Compound lens optical system capable of capturing 360° of vision

Insect Compound Eye

Compound Micro Lens


Examples of analogy4
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Passive device which regulates and transmits specific light frequencies. Also analogous to an analog band gap filter

Morpho butterfly wings

Photonic Crystals


Examples of analogy5
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Device that temporarily secures two materials without adhesives and is reusable

Cockle Burr


Examples of analogy6
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Device that provides linear actuation and integrated compliance

Chinese Finger Puzzle

Pneumatic Artificial Muscle

Examples of analogy7
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Device that can traverse large distances over rough, uneven terrain utilizing wind power as the source for locomotion


Mars Exploration Robot

Examples of analogy8
Examples of Analogy Technique

Problem Description



Portable device that provides both hand-held and hands-free lighting

King Cobra

B&D Snake Light

Examples of analogy9
Examples of Analogy Technique


Problem Description


Device that secures and cuts unwieldy materials such as tree branches

Black & Decker Alligator Lopper

Alligator Jaws

Examples of analogy10
Examples of Analogy Technique


Problem Description


Liquid measuring device with convenient to read measurement scales

Historical Patents

New Dimension Measuring Cup

Examples of analogy11
Examples of Analogy Technique


Problem Description


New sail that includes appropriate flexibility but also rigidity

Bat Wing

Ship Sails

Biological analogy from functional similarity

Bipolar Plate Technique

Flow Field


Lamina (Blade)

www.raymondchow.ca/ gallery/leaf.jpg

Biological Analogy from Functional Similarity

Analogous Functions: ‘distribute fluid: guide fluid: disperse fluid’

Motivation Technique

  • Concept generation has a significant impact on product cost and ultimately product success

  • Relying on design teams experience can lead to exclusion of vast number of feasible concepts

  • Analogies between concepts or products can be identified by appropriate (functional) representations

  • Systematic Design by Analogy methodology will enable designers to identify non-obvious solutions leading to innovative designs

Design by analogy state of the art
Design by Analogy State-of-the-Art Technique

  • Analogy is a mapping of knowledge from one domain to another supported by abstract representations

  • Few structured approaches exist to find analogies

  • One approach uses biomimetic principles to search biology text books (Hacco & Shu, 2002)

  • Second approach uses functional modeling and comparison of functional similarity to identify analogies (McAdams & Wood, 2000)

Implications golden nuggets
Implications, Golden Nuggets, … Technique

  • Maximum ideas: rotational viewing w/ words & sketches

    • (hybrid 6-3-5/C-Sketch method)

  • Rotational Viewing produces more ideas than Gallery Viewing.

  • Both individual and group work are important in the idea generation process.

  • As ideas are added the concept’s overall completeness and quality improves.

Implications golden nuggets1
Implications, Golden Nuggets, … Technique

  • Representation matters in design-by-analogy

  • Derivation of design principles through empirical studies is the abstraction process of analogical representation

  • Representation studies and further experiments move us toward a Analogical (“Google”) Search Engine…