Crowdsourcing Inspiration: Using Crowd Generated Inspirational Stimuli to Support Designer Ideation

Goucher-Lambert K, and Cagan J. 2019. Design Studies 61: 1-29.


Inspirational stimuli, such as analogies, are a prominent mechanism used to support designers. However, generating relevant inspirational stimuli remains challenging. This work explores the potential of using an untrained crowd workforce to generate stimuli for trained designers. Crowd workers developed solutions for twelve open-ended design problems from the literature. Solutions were text-mined to extract words along a frequency domain, which, along with computationally derived semantic distances, partitioned stimuli into closer or further distance categories for each problem. The utility of these stimuli was tested in a human subjects experiment (N = 96). Results indicate crowdsourcing holds potential to gather impactful inspirational stimuli for openended design problems. Near stimuli improve the feasibility and usefulness of designs solutions, while distant stimuli improved their uniqueness.