Affiliations: Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, 12 Anna
Frank Street, Ramat Gan 52526, Israel. E-mail: [email protected] | Ort Braude College, POB 78, Karmiel 21982, Israel.
E-mail: [email protected]
Note:  Corresponding author
Abstract: Industrial creativity research usually focuses on new product
development. The prevailing dominance of the service sector calls for research
into the nature of creativity in the framework of new service development. We
describe and analyze an empirical study of creativity when producing a
conceptual design of a service system – a qualitative description of the
system as a set of components and their characteristics. A problem – design of
an after-sales service facility – was given to two groups of students. The
first group was required to use convergent thinking: to assign appropriate
values to a prespecified set of attributes describing the system components.
The second group was instructed to produce a design through divergent thinking:
to ideate both attributes and appropriate values. Our objective was to
determine the merits and demerits of these techniques and to suggest a hybrid
design procedure which can take advantage of the benefits of both. We asked six
questions: Which group is more creative? Do both groups interpret the design
case in the same way? Do the members within each group interpret the design
case in the same way? Do both sets of designs cover all the characteristics of
the service system? Do they consider both requirements and specifications? How
well do they answer the design problem? We found that divergent thinking
produces a larger combined set of attributes but more limited designs per
participant; both groups tend to interpret the problem differently; the second
group tends to generate similar within-group designs – despite the individual
freedom of ideation; most characteristics are adequately covered by both
groups; the second group is biased in favour of specifications; and the second
group provides a better answer to the design problem. We propose a combination
of brainstorming and predefinition to achieve the advantages of both
approaches: a large set of ideated attributes and a complementary set of
predefined attributes when ideation is "exhausted". "Discovery consists of
looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different"
(Albert Szent Gyorgi).