Understanding and Supporting Technical Creativity

Corina Sas and Alan Dix

Computing Department, Infolab21, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

< Corina on the Web > < Alan on the Web >

Paper at HCIEd'09, Dundee, Scotland, 22-24 April 2009.

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This paper explores the topic of exploration (sic) within the design space and discusses how this can support the development of research design. It highlights the relevance of reflecting upon the exploration of the design space and introduces a set of techniques that can be used for this.

Keywords: Design research, design space, idea generation, reflection in action.


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Full reference:
C. Sas and A. Dix (2009). Understanding and Supporting Technical Creativity. in HCIEd'09, Dundee, Scotland, 22-24 April 2009. http://www.hcibook.com/alan/papers/ HCIed2009-technical-creativity/
Alan's pages on Research and Innovation Techniques and essays on imagination and rationality and related topics
related talks and papers:
A. Dix (2009). Bad Things May Be Good for You: creativity and regret. Talk at EECS, Southampton University, 9th February, 2009. abstract and slides
A. Dix, T. Ormerod, M. Twidale, C. Sas, P. Gomes da Silva, L. McKnight (2006). Why bad ideas are a good idea. in Proceedings of HCIEd.2006-1 inventivity, Ballina/Killaloe, Ireland. 23-24 March 2006    abstract and paper
C. Sas and A. Dix (2006). Exploring the Design Space. in DIS 2006 Workshop: Exploring Design as a Research Activity, Penn State, USA. 25 June 2006 abstract and paper
C. Sas and A. Dix (2007). Alternative Design Brief for Teaching Interaction Design: Finding New Aplications for Existing Technologies. in HCI Educators 2007. Creativity3: Experiencing to educate and design. Aveiro, Portugal, 29-30 March 2007. abstract and paper

Figure 1: The exploration of design space allows fluid movements between the concrete plane involving examples, i.e. artifacts or ideas, and the abstract plane involving reflection on examples and understanding of their abstract dimensions.


Figure 2: The exploration of Good Ideas allows an incremental exploration of the concrete plane, and thus a local exploration which leaves unexplored large areas of this plane.


Figure 3: The exploration of Bad Ideas in the concrete plane particularly facilitates movement to far away areas, which thus overcome the drawbacks of the limited exploration that Good Ideas entail.


Figure 4: The exploration of Bad Ideas on the concrete plane impacts on discovering important aspects of the design space through reflection taking place in the abstract plane.


Figure 5: Constructing boundary case in the concrete plane, by identifying the critical transition point, where the path between the two category examples crosses the category boundaryx.



Alan Dix 6/12/2016