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Creativity In Design: A Cross Disciplinary Study

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Instructional Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.344.1 - 8.344.9

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Paper Authors

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Kamyar Mahboub

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Creativity in Design: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Kamyar C. Mahboub, Ph.D., P.E., Yinhui Liu, Susantha Chandraratna, and Margaret B. Portillo University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40506-0281

ABSTRACT The issue of creativity in design was studied within two very diverse disciplines at the University of Kentucky. These disciplines were: Civil Engineering and Interior Design. These two disciplines were selected for their vastly different styles of creativity in practice and pedagogy. The study had two phases. The first phase was to assess the creativity of the freshman class in both disciplines. The second phase was to expose a subset of the students to a series of creativity training modules and assess any shift in their creative abilities. To accomplish this, a statistically valid experiment was designed using “control” and “treatment” groups within each discipline. The data demonstrated improvements in some categories of creativity. This improvement in the creativity index was possible as a result of a special creativity-training module. Future work will include larger pool, and longitudinal creativity studies.

I. INTRODUCTION The premium placed on fostering both critical and creative thinking has increased in the last decade. Calls for creative solutions to problems are becoming ever louder and more insistent in this era. We are witnessing a concomitant resurgence of scholarly interest in creative thinking and creativity in fields such as psychology (Amabile, 1983; Cskszentmihalyi, 1997; Gardner, 1998; Sternberg, 1988) and business (Amabile, 1997, 1998; Kao, 1997). While the scientific as well as fine arts communities have long valued the original and creative individual, the business community increasingly urges their employees to “think outside of the box.” The business world recognizes that creativity offers a competitive edge in a workplace that is characterized by complexity, change, diversity, and globalization (Kao, 1997). Paradoxically, however, standard business practices inhibit creativity and managers who report valuing creativity often do little in practice to support innovation (Amabile, 1998).

A parallel situation is present in post-secondary institutions where disciplines such as engineering and interior design place a premium on creative problem solving yet do

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Mahboub, K. (2003, June), Creativity In Design: A Cross Disciplinary Study Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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