A study of biologically-inspired design as a context for enhancing student innovation

Brent Nelson, Jamal Wilson, Jeannette Yen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article describes an investigation of the use of biologically-inspired design as a context from which to teach innovative design. The research compared ideation behavior among mechanical engineering students from a capstone design class to mechanical engineering students who had taken a semester-long course specifically focused on biologicallyinspired design. Both groups of students were presented with the same design challenge, and pre-established metrics were used to characterize the novelty and variety of the resultant designs generated by the students. The designs from the biologically-inspired design students had an average novelty score 80% higher than those from the control group of capstone students, and the result was statistically- significant. The biologically-inspired design students also had a 37% higher average variety score, although a small sample size led to a high variance and prevented statistical significance. The increased scores for novelty and variety imply a greater tendency toward innovative design among the biologically-inspired design students. The source of greater innovation is unclear but may be due to improved analogical reasoning capabilities among the biologically-inspired design students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationImagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Event39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Imagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009 - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2009Oct 21 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565

Other

Other39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Imagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009
CountryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX
Period10/18/0910/21/09

Keywords

  • Design
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ideation
  • Innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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  • Cite this

    Nelson, B., Wilson, J., & Yen, J. (2009). A study of biologically-inspired design as a context for enhancing student innovation. In 39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Imagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009 [5350871] (Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE). https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2009.5350871