Addressing Constraints Creatively: How New Design Software Helps Solve the Dilemma of Originality and Feasibility

Abstract : Are designers doomed to sacrifice creativity when integrating new product development processes? Although many studies highlight the need to produce original and innovative designs, maintainingcreativity in the design process continues to be difficult due to industrial constraints. Thus, creativity is restricted to phases in the "Fuzzy Front End" to avoid those constraints that might effectively kill it(Amabile, 1998, Reid and De Brentani, 2004). However, constraints are also acknowledged as a resource for creativity, ashas previously been shown with artists and engineers (Burkhardt and Lubart, 2010, Sternberg and Lubart, 1999, Le Masson et al., 2011, Goldenberg and Mazursky, 2000).Thus, we posethefollowing research question: In which cases can a constraint be a resource for creativity? To answer this question, we investigate different types of computer-aided design (CAD) software. Relying on an experimental method, we compare the performance of those types of software at the so-called ideation gap where design sketches are transformed into digital models. We show the following: 1) some CAD software enables designers to work under additional constraints and be more creative and toavoid the tradeoff between robustness and creativity,and 2) understanding this performance means appreciating that such software enables designers to play with the embedded constraints to revealassociated fixations and to design models that follow the constraint but overcome the fixation. Constraints and creativity are linked by two competing processes: constraints decrease the degree of freedom and, as a result, creative possibilities, but embedding constraints increases the awareness of fixationsandtherefore the capacity to design original models. Today, new CAD tools more effectively support the second process, which leads to ―acquired originality‖ in design.
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Pierre-Antoine Arrighi, Pascal Le Masson, Benoit Weil. Addressing Constraints Creatively: How New Design Software Helps Solve the Dilemma of Originality and Feasibility. Creativity and Innovation Management, Wiley, 2014, pp.10.1111/caim.12082. ⟨10.1111/caim.12082⟩. ⟨hal-01083248⟩

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