Using Evolved Analogies to Overcome Creative Design Fixation

  • Steven M. Smith
  • Julie S. Linsey
  • Andruid Kerne


Human cognition is critically important in all creative conceptual design. People are susceptible to design fixation, blocks or impasses caused by a variety of unconscious cognitive processes. Insight that resolves fixation can be triggered by accidentally encountered cues, but designers cannot know in advance which environmental triggers are most appropriate. Two domains, patents and life forms, encompass countless well-tested mechanisms for solving environmental problems. A patent database and a compendium of life forms could provide rich sources of analogies that might trigger insight, thereby overcoming design fixation.


creativity cognition fixation incubation insight analogy biological 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven M. Smith
    • 1
  • Julie S. Linsey
    • 1
  • Andruid Kerne
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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