Applying a Theory of Situation Awareness to Idea Generation: Mitigation of Design Fixation

  • Byounghyun Choi
  • Woojin ParkEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


As a solution to ambiguity and complexity within the idea generation stage, several structured idea generation methods have been developed. Though their usefulness in the idea generation phase has been verified in many studies, methods or techniques designed to help people generate ideas often lead to associations that hinder people’s free thinking. This phenomenon is called design fixation. Many research studies on design fixation has shown that it severely limits creativity. One of the reasons why design fixation is difficult to overcome is that designers are often unaware of its occurrence during ideation – in other words, designers lose situation awareness in the middle of a cognitively demanding ideation task. An ability to maintain situation awareness, and, thereby, detect and address design fixation in a timely manner would greatly help designers effectively perform ideation. Surprisingly, little research has examined the influences of situation awareness on design fixation and ideation outcomes, or, has developed systems for supporting such situation awareness. To bridge the gap, we developed a situation awareness support system which indicates the elapsed time during idea generation and how many times the user, who is generating ideas, has used each stimulus employed to inspire idea generation. The situation awareness support system helps designers easily and rapidly identify occurrences of design fixation. Finally, an experimental method for examining the impacts of the situation awareness support system has been established.


Design fixation Situation awareness Creativity support tools 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea (South Korea)

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