Kristin Wood, University of Texas Photo

Kristin Wood, University of Texas

February 22, 2011, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
ITW Classroom (1.350)
2133 Sheridan Rd. Evanston , IL 60208

Innovative Methods for Ideation: Design-by-Analogy, Collaborative Design, and Design tRaNsFoRmErS


The ability to invent, create and innovate is at the very core of engineering and product development. While this core ability is well recognized and acknowledged, significant research questions exist regarding our understanding of the underlying processes. These questions include: what are the basic cognitive mechanisms for analogical reasoning, what are appropriate representations for concept generation in individual and team environments, and what is the role of design principles in fostering innovation? This presentation focuses on these general questions in the areas of design-by-analogy, collaborative design methods, and a new theory for transformational design. Experimental results, focusing on cognitive science, are presented, showing how the representation of a design problem or how the representation of a device or product in a person’s memory influences the person’s ability to later use the device as a design analogy. Related experimental results of ideation methods, such as 6-3-5 and C-Sketch, are also presented. These results show clear findings as to how designers should represent and exchange their ideas during collaborative concept generation. The collaborative design results are complemented with a new theory for design transformers. As with the children’s toys of the same name, products which transform to reveal new functionality have been a source of fascination and utility for ages. Such products ‑ transformers ‑ have been previously designed by employing ad hoc creativity. Our research in this area show empirically derived Transformer Principles and Facilitators for directing concept generation. These principles, in conjunction with design-by-analogy and collaborative design, provide a suite of ideation methods for improving innovation processes. These methods are illustrated throughout the presentation with novel designs created through our work at The University of Texas’ Manufacturing and Design Laboratory (MaDLab) and our collaboration with the United States Air Force Academy.


Dr. Kristin L. Wood is currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Design & Manufacturing Division at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Division of Engineering and Applied Science) at the California Institute of Technology, where he was an AT&T Bell Laboratories Ph.D. Scholar. He received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science (Magna cum Laude, minor in mathematics) from Colorado State University, May 1985. Dr. Wood joined the faculty at the University of Texas in September 1989 and established a computational and experimental laboratory for research in engineering design and manufacturing, in addition to a teaching laboratory for prototyping, reverse engineering measurements, and testing. He was a National Science Foundation Young Investigator and is currently the “Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor in Engineering,” “University Distinguished Teaching Professor,” and the Director of the Manufacturing and Design Laboratory (MaDLab) and MORPH Laboratory. Dr. Wood has published more than 300 commentaries, refereed articles and books, and has received three ASME Best Research Paper Awards, two ASEE Best Paper Awards, an ICED Best Research Paper Award, the Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, the ASEE Fred Merryfield Design Award, the NSPE AT&T Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, the ASME Curriculum Innovation Award, the Engineering Foundation Faculty Excellence Award, the Lockheed Martin Teaching Excellence Award, the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Teaching Innovation Award, the Academy of University Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, and the Regents’ Outstanding Teacher Award. He is currently supervising a number of graduate students on projects related to product design, development, and evolution. Such projects include design innovation, design-by-analogy, advanced manufacturing processes, such as Solid Freeform Fabrication, methods in product development and innovation, design for manufacturing and tolerance methods, machine-system design, design for product flexibility, design transformer theory, reverse engineering, and design teaching and learning methods for kindergarten through graduate levels. Example applications of this research include the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, micro-electro-mechanical systems, flexible consumer products, energy harvesting systems, and transformer / reconfigurable systems. Dr. Wood annually teaches a number of outreach short courses in Design Technology and Engineering for All Children (DTEACh), he was the Area Coordinator for the Design and Manufacturing group at UT, he was the conference and committee chair for the annual ASME International Design Theory and Methodology (DTM) Conference, he was an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, he served as an invited panelist for the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Innovative Manufacturing Research Centers, he serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Product Development (IJPD), and he was a founding Board Member of The Design Society, an international organization. Beyond these academic pursuits, Dr. Wood annually carries out a number of consulting projects with a variety of companies, focusing on intellectual property, design process assessments, systems design, and methods in creativity and innovation.

Contact Andrea Farley at 847-467-1604 or for further questions.