Exploring Mental Scaling as Source for Creativity during the Product Design Process
In product design practice, design problems may occur on different levels and through different stages of a design process. The diversity of these different levels – from an abstract philosophical, ideation and conceptualization level, to a concrete detail solving one – requires an ability to flexibly grasp the nature of the actual problem, independent of where in the design process it occurs. Academically, these challenges are addressed in different ways in design schools worldwide, via an institution’s culture, traditions and experiences of applied pedagogical methodologies.
For a product designer, the commercial race for technological optimization and functional efficiency combined with complex market mechanisms, demands an increased ability to adapt. This refers to future technological development, rapidly changing consumer behavior, and the prediction of future trends. The Institute of Design (IDE), The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, has carried out educational training to meet these demands. Our motivation has been to launch and test new design methodologies in order to stimulate the product design student’s ability to generate ideas and execute design processes by implementing holistic views. The starting point for the pedagogical research project was: How can we stimulate and thereby improve design student’s creativity through the execution of different stages of a product design process? We answer this question by providing examples of how stimulus for enhanced creativity was provided to our students. We also conclude that our mission gained positive pedagogical effect through the practical student projects.