Title: Reshaping the box: creative designing as constraint management

Authors: Martin Stacey, Claudia Eckert

Addresses: Faculty of Technology, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK. ' Design Group, Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

Abstract: The nature of novel idea creation in design depends on the nature of the design challenge: how requirements and constraints not only determine what is acceptable but also shape thinking. This paper explores how overconstrained and underconstrained problems are tackled in fundamentally different ways, using engineering design, knitwear design and software development as exemplars. Problem framing as well as the iterative reformulation of the design problem is crucial in all fields but is done very differently. However, designers face a variety of problem types, including problems resembling those typical in other industries; this paper argues that a wider awareness of the creative thinking methods used in other industries would aid designers in many fields to tackle unfamiliar problems.

Keywords: design types; creativity; cognition; constraint management; overconstrained problems; underconstrained problems; problem framing; requirements specification; creative design; idea creation; engineering design; knitwear design; software development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2010.033960

International Journal of Product Development, 2010 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.241 - 255

Published online: 05 Jul 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article