An original design approach for stimulating the ideation of new product features
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The manuscript illustrates a method, implemented in a computer application, which supports the identification of new product features in the early phases of engineering design cycles. In the practice, such a task is commonly carried out through cognitive techniques that generate random and unstructured stimuli. These approaches and the computer-aided tools that implement them suffer from a scarce exploration of the design space. This criticality is faced by introducing an original classification of value drivers, thus organizing a large set of concepts consisting of stimuli for generating new product ideas. The proposed method combines the concepts belonging to different categories of the classification in order to identify scenarios in which the product can provide unprecedented benefits for customers and other stakeholders. Experiments in academia and industry show the capability of the developed method and prototype software to increase the number and the novelty of ideas, reveal previously overlooked drivers for customer satisfaction and enhance the definition of stimulated design requirements.