Asee peer logo

Studying Ideation in Engineering Design

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Outstanding Contributions: Mechanical Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1350.1 - 22.1350.24



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Patrick W. Pace University of Texas, Austin

author page

Kristin L. Wood University of Texas, Austin


John J. Wood U.S. Air Force Academy

visit author page

Dr. John J. Wood is currently an Associate Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the United States Air Force Academy. Dr. Wood completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University in the design and empirical analysis of compliant systems. He received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Wright State University and his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1984. Dr. Wood joined the faculty at the United States Air Force Academy in 1994 while serving on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. After completing his Ph.D. in 2002, he returned to the Air Force Academy where he has been on the faculty ever since. The current focus of Dr. Wood’s research is the continued development of empirical testing methods using similitude-based approaches. This approach provides significant potential for increasing the efficiency of the design process through a reduction in required full-scale testing and an expansion of the projected performance profiles using empirically-based prediction techniques. Dr. Wood’s research also includes the development of micro air vehicle systems using innovative conceptual design techniques for current technology implementations, as well as futuristic projections, applied in the framework of a senior capstone design course.

visit author page


Daniel D. Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

visit author page

Dr. Daniel D. Jensen received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His industrial experience includes Texas Instruments (mechanical design), Naval Research Labs (computational dynamics), NASA Langley funded post doc (finite elements), consulting at Lockheed and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (computational mechanics) MSC Software Corporation (educational multimedia development) and Creo Consulting (Mechanical Engineering Consulting). He taught at Univ. of the Pacific for four years and is currently a Professor in the Department of Engineering Mechanics at the U. S. Air Force Academy. He has published approximately 100 technical publications and generated approximately two million dollars of research finding. His current research interests include development of new design methodologies, as well as methods for improving engineering education.

visit author page


Brian K Skibba Air Force Research Laboratory

visit author page

Mr. Brian K Skibba
Senior Research Engineer, Air Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/RXQE Airbase Automation Technologies Lead

Mr. Skibba is assigned as the Lead for Air Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/RXQE Airbase Automation Technologies research located at Tyndall AFB, FL. His current focus is on applications of unmanned systems to improve the safety, efficiency, and performance of airbase operations and agile combat support missions. Mr. Skibba holds degrees in mechanical engineering and management with over 20 years experience in industrial and robotic automation systems research, design and program management.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Studying Ideation in Engineering Design Education: Application to Highly Mobile Robots AbstractDeveloping innovative ideas as part of engineering design can be limited by the field oftechnology and the engineer’s or design team’s understanding of the field. Without sufficientunderstanding of an emerging technical field, ideation may be hampered by reinventing theproverbial wheel or by a lack of knowledge of the underlying physical principles and state oftechnology. The engineering education research presented here seeks to develop a tool andmethodology intended to strengthen a designer’s or design team’s understanding of a field andrelevant technologies in order to foster creative and innovative solutions. The presentedinductive methodology consists of conducting a thorough review of existing relevant developingor commercially available technologies in order to obtain characteristic property data to be usedas a basis of understanding. Data is consolidated in an electronic spreadsheet tool programmedto ease data management and provide the ability to efficiently analyze design solutions. Criticalmetrics for the given application are generated and comparative results are plotted. Analysis ofthe plotted information may lead to understanding existing trends, identifying voids whereopportunities exist to expand the design space and general insights into the field leading to morebeneficial concept generation sessions and effective use of concept selection tools. Theeffectiveness of the stated design methodology and tool are investigated for the problem domainof developing a mobile cave and tunnel exploration type robot. Senior cadets from the U.S. AirForce Academy perform concept generation sessions before and after utilizing the presented toolto understand the existing technology, where the results are examined to determine the impactand utility of the tool in design and as part of engineering design curricula. A second experimentis also conducted with graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin to furtheranalyze the effectiveness of the tool on quantity and quality of the concepts generated. Theseexperiments demonstrate that state-of-technology design tools provide an effective foundationand platform for designers to generate a larger quantity of concepts, with higher quality andnovelty, compared to a control group. There exist significant implications on engineering designeducation from these findings. For example, the systematic mapping of the state-of-the-art in afield is an important learning objective and skill to be nurtured in our engineering students asthey explore and solve design problems.

Pace, P. W., & Wood, K. L., & Wood, J. J., & Jensen, D. D., & Skibba, B. K. (2011, June), Studying Ideation in Engineering Design Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18857

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015