June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Design in Engineering Education
23.1292.1 - 23.1292.14
Effectiveness of Concept Generation Techniques in Different Cultural Settings Design processes utilizing concept generation tools, such as 6-3-5 and Brainstormingwith Mind-Mapping, are having wide application in product development processes in developedcountries. The use of these tools has contributed to improvements to many common devices,from handheld power screwdrivers to nail clippers. Designers from developed countries are alsoapplying these concept generation tools to design problems identified in underdevelopedcountries. In order to design effective products for underdeveloped countries, the inclusion of theend-user in the design process is advocated as a means of accurately identifying and satisfyingthe needs of the poor. However, including the end-users and training them to lead future designefforts often add an additional layer of complexity because of differences in culture and languageamong the participants. In transferring these techniques to designers in underdeveloped communities, it isimportant to first determine to what extent these tools are culture-specific, what modificationsmust be made in order for them to be effective in other cultures, and how this might affect theteaching of these techniques. This paper presents a case study in which concept generationtechniques were applied to the same design problem, for the same industry, with groups indifferent countries, one developed and one underdeveloped. It is hypothesized that, in changingthe cultural setting, the results of the concept generation sessions would differ, as would thepreferred techniques. Since the ability for participants to learn and communicate ideas is critical for the successof concept generation, two concept generation techniques were selected for their ability toaccommodate multiple learning styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. The selectedtechniques, Brainstorming with Mind Mapping and 6-3-5/C-Sketch, are kinesthetic in nature andrely on active participation, writing, and/or sketching by all group members. They aredifferentiated by the secondary learning style that they encourage the participant to utilize. Study participant groups were recruited from prosthetic clinics in Bolivia and the US.They were taught how to apply these concept generation methods to a common problem—tocreate a prosthetic socket design which could accommodate changes in residual limb volume.This problem was chosen because lack of proper fit and comfort in their sockets continues to bean issue of great concern to amputees, despite improved technology and advancements inunderstanding lower limb prosthetic socket fit. Existing prosthetic socket technology oftencannot compensate for changes in the shape of the residual limb and the resulting discomfort forthe user. Therefore, a new socket design is sought using these techniques. The resulting concepts generated by each group were rated according to four metrics(novelty, quality, variety, and quantity) to quantitatively compare the results of the conceptgeneration sessions in each country. It appeared that the more visual techniques, such as the 6-3-5 method, were more widely accepted by both groups with a stronger dislike for verbaltechniques in Bolivia. Therefore, removing the language barrier may help to encourage effectiveconcept generation when crossing cultural boundaries.
Kendall, M. R., & Crawford, R. H. (2013, June), Use of Concept Generation Techniques in Different Cultural Settings Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22677
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