Strategies For Stimulating Creativity In Design Education
Designers are increasingly challenged by demands defined by environmental concerns, technological optimization, logistics and functional efficiency. In order to handle this complexity, designers have to be academically trained in a relevant manner, and we understand that relevant methodology in design education is a key issue. The diversity of these different aspects – from an abstract philosophical, ideation and conceptualization level, to a concrete detail solving one – requires an ability to grasp flexibly the nature of the actual problem. Academically, these challenges are addressed in different ways in design schools worldwide. In our institution, The Institute of Design (IDE), an effort has been made to explore and evaluate the effects of different design methods as part of our educational training during the foundation study. The starting point was: How can we -in order to make design students mentally ‘flexible’- stimulate and thereby improve design student’s creativity through the execution of different stages of a product design process? A set of different design projects and workshops with divergent focus areas was provided to first year design students. The thematic divergence in these activities has produced a valuable body of experience, which seems to articulate a firmer understanding of which pedagogical structure works well. A key factor here is mental elasticity, or the ability to mentally fluctuate between a convergent and divergent thinking through the design process. This paper presents and discusses the experiences gained from these design projects in relation with this theory.
Keywords: Strategy, creativity, process, mental elasticity, idea stimulus