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Convergent/Divergent Creativity

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Product Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.405.1 - 12.405.7



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Paper Authors


Richard Fry Brigham Young University

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Richard Fry received his MFA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently Program Chair of Industrial Design in the School of Technology at Brigham Young University where he specializes in Product Design. Previous to entering the education field, he worked professionally in the areas of Appliance, Aerospace, Exhibit, and Home Fitness design.

Richard Fry has presented internationally on topics such as design process, web-based industry sponsored projects, and industry support for educational projects.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Divergent/Convergent Creativity Working With Different Modes of Creative Thought in Interdisciplinary Settings. Introduction Currently, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design at _____________University is housed and awarded by the College of Engineering and Technology. This came about in the Fall of 1999 when the Industrial Design program left the College of Fine Arts and Communications (where it had been for the 30 previous years) and moved to the newly formed School of Technology in the College of Engineering and Technology.

Even before the move from the College of Fine Arts to the College of Engineering senior level ID students began experimenting with cross-disciplinary collaboration by participating in a Capstone program with manufacturing and mechanical engineering students. One of the reasons for the move from Fine Arts to Engineering was to strengthen these collaborative efforts and to look for new collaborative opportunities.

However, strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of these collaborative efforts (and therefore student interest) has not been easy. One obvious difficulty in maintaining collaborative relationships between students from various disciplines is inherent in the school based system – that of quick turn over between students. However, a larger difficulty manifests itself when students and faculty lack a common understanding of the contributions of each group participant, and see differences as roadblocks rather than strengths to be leveraged. This lack of understanding contributes to motivational problems, lack of group cohesion, and decreased chances of success. Students argue that there are other experiences that would be more beneficial for them educationally and that the collaborative effort is not effective. This is not peculiar to our experiences at ____________ University.

“Many talk about multi-disciplinary collaboration, but few are actually successful at sustaining attempts to see what will happen. Even strong partners often lose interest because they cannot get along well enough or long enough to see the fruits of the collaboration” 1

To break through the barriers to effective collaboration it is necessary to have a deeper understanding on the part of each discipline about their respective strengths and weaknesses, and how each discipline contributes to an overarching process. One specific area of confusion is how these two groups manifest and apply the principles of creativity in problem-based learning activities.

The effort to understand and teach principles of creativity has become an “engineering imperative” 2. The “new division of labor”3 that has come about due to the increased ability to automate and the availability of labor due to the flattening of the world has resulted in the opportunity and need for all disciplines to increase their creativity in order to be productive in a more strategic way. The Dean of Engineering at _____________ University has recently focused on five new initiatives, one of which is “Innovation and Creativity.”

Fry, R. (2007, June), Convergent/Divergent Creativity Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2639

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