Configuring time for creativity: How to optimize the ideation process in design thinking workshops

Chaehan So, Soojung Jun, Ken Nah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether and to what degree the creative performance of an ideation session depends on the time configuration of an ideation process. To this aim, the present study applied psychological research methodology and yielded the first quantitative insight into this research question. Fifty-six graphic design students produced 13,195 ideas in six experimental sessions of brain-writing, averaging 36.1 ideas per person and experimental session after removal of outliers. The quantitative outcomes of these sessions were combined for pairwise comparisons to test the effect of session type (long session vs. sequenced session), warm-up session (sequenced session vs. long session), interval duration (decreasing intervals vs. shortened overall interval). Results revealed positive effects with large effect sizes in the range of 57-72 percent increase in creative performance for sequenced sessions over long and continuous sessions (H1), for long sessions following a sequenced session (H2a), and for extremely short interval duration over short interval duration of 3 minutes (H3b). Decreasing the interval duration in three subsequent sessions showed a moderate increase (+21%) over short interval duration (H3a). These results are relevant for design educators and design thinking practitioners as they provide consistent evidence for optimized creative performance if ideation sessions are structured in several intervals of extremely short duration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the 2016 Hongik University new faculty research support fund. The authors like to thank the students of Soongeui Women’s College for their participation in this study and permission to publish their photos.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Common Ground Research Networks. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Urban Studies


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