ICoRD'13 pp 113-124 | Cite as

Mitigation of Design Fixation in Engineering Idea Generation: A Study on the Role of Defixation Instructions

  • Vimal Viswanathan
  • Julie Linsey
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


Design fixation is considered to be a major factor influencing engineering idea generation. When fixated, designers unknowingly replicate the features from their own initial ideas or presented examples. The study reported in this paper investigates the effects of warnings about the undesirable features on design fixation. The authors hypothesize that if designers are given warnings about the undesirable example features along with the reasons for those warnings, fixation to those features can be mitigated. In order to investigate this hypothesis, a controlled experiment is conducted with novice designers. The participants are randomly assigned to one of the three experiment groups: a Control, Fixation or Defixation. Participants in all the groups generate ideas for the same design problem. It is observed that even when the warnings are present, designers replicate the flawed features in their ideas. Further, this paper compares said result with the findings in the existing literature.


Concept generation Defixation instructions Design fixation 



Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation Award No. CMMI-1000954. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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