Fostering divergence during conceptual design with industrial-based students

Vuletic, Tijana and Holliman, Freddie and Thomson, Avril (2023) Fostering divergence during conceptual design with industrial-based students. Proceedings of the Design Society, 3. pp. 1915-1924. (

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Teaching the same design module to two different cohorts, traditional design students and industry-based students, the outcomes of the conceptual design stage has shown differences in divergence achieved, looking at both number and quality of concepts. The activities of both cohorts across two years are explored, combining on campus studio based teaching and online teaching, through comparison of teaching approaches for both cohorts and their effect on the design outcomes. Findings show that the traditional design students create significantly larger number of concepts, discussed in more detail and engage more fully in the divergence-convergence design process. Then the recommendations are provided for approaches and techniques that could be implemented to the industry-based student teaching to encourage divergence during idea generation. These include increased levels of studio work focused design work separated from industry needs, more structure and mandatory use of all instructed design techniques by inclusion in the assessment, increased focus on intermediate tasks and contextualisation of design terms to the fields they are familiar with.