Fostering ideation in the very early design phases: how textual, pictorial and combined stimuli affect creativity
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Creativity is critical to the success of design outcomes. Several research contributions investigate the effects of different stimuli on the creativity of conceptual solutions. Studies still lacks dedicated to early New Product Development activities focused on the definition of new product ideas in terms of unprecedented benefits and product attributes. The paper deals with the forms through which stimuli are delivered to support ideation for the recalled design activity. The objective of the paper is to assess if and how different stimuli affect designers' ideation performance. An experiment was performed, in which participants were asked to produce new ideas or product attributes for an existing product category, by exploiting textual, pictorial and combined stimuli as source of inspiration. The results show that the inspiration fashions play a limited role on the outcomes of the ideation process, if the latter are assessed through the most acknowledged creativity metrics. However, the experiment reveals that significantly different ideas have emerged in groups using diversified forms of stimuli.