F. Julian, X. Espinach, M. Alcalà, M. Delgado-Aguilar

Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
Professional engineers and industrial designers have traditionally been applying methods and techniques based on providing creativity to the projects, inherited from other fields (professions), largely due to heuristic thereof. It is in the field of education and teaching where gaps are observed and only few data of its use and manner of implementation is found.
The main objective of this presentation is the application of a new training methodology by using techniques of creativity to projects in engineering and design studies, in order to improve the outcome from the students in areas such as the degree of innovation and the success of the proposed solutions.

In the presentation, several studies in which a creativity technique is used in the area of engineering and design are shown and discussed.

In a first step, general principles for the development of ideas and various criteria for their development are presented. Subsequently, different creativity techniques are described, which are finally englobed in three groups. The used methods correspond to intuitive or tracking methods, methods based on spontaneous externalization and / or analytical methods, and finally combinatorial methods.

Afterwards, the selected techniques are presented; in the current case the analogy, brainstorming, brain drawing, synaptic and Zwicky box.

The chosen projects are aimed as educational projects in design and engineering, and 3 case studies are completed: the design of a wooden desktop clock, a wooden toy that can be directed or dragged, and a container for condensed milk.

The project on the desktop clock is worked in groups and analogies and classic brainstorming was used. In the second project the classic brainstorming, the brain drawing, analogies and Synaptic were applied. The third project was developed by using the Zwicky box or the morphological study.

Since the first two projects were worked on groups, general lines for the project were obtained, followed by individual work development, regarding both the progress on the technique and the results presentation. The final result should be a very innovative product able to be produced and distributed.

For evaluation purposes, volumetric models or mock ups, as well as a final presentation of the functional models was required. Associated with volumetric models, students had to submit documentation which shall contain all the analyzed parts, an orderly explanation of the creativity techniques used and technical drawings of each project.

The introduction of new teaching methods where the backbone of the subject is creativity and where specific techniques are applied in the learning process in areas with a strong heuristic character, offers an important aid to student learning process. The results have been very satisfactory for teachers. Likewise, students were satisfied with the methodology and showed great motivation for the topic of the projects, with the final functional models, with the group working and the efficacy and use of the creative techniques.