Date of Award

8-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Greene

Second Advisor

Dr. David Szabla

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Butt

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jim Burns

Keywords

Design thinking, decision-making, expert designers, novice designers, designers' cognitions, design thinking models

Abstract

Designers in various industries often encounter difficult design situations in which divergent exploration of problems lead to converging processes that synthesize solutions. The research hypothesized that when dealing with ambiguous or wicked design problems, both experts and novice designers face similar challenges in design thinking, which they overcome using different methodologies. Inasmuch, this study’s methodology addressed the question that do expert and novice designers have differences, especially in decision-making during the process of design thinking? If so, the differences between expert and novice designers during the design thinking process can adversely affect teamwork efficiency, which influences the quality of design projects. Therefore, the differences between expert and novice designers and the inherent impacts on decision-making in the design thinking process were investigated.

In order to illuminate the research’s focus, the research question was: How does approaching design thinking process vary between novice and expert designers? First, this study explored the differences between expert and novice designers, while approaching the design thinking process along with its various stages for making decisions. Second, current design thinking theoretical frameworks were modified to create a proposed model that should help minimize any negative effects caused by the differences between expert and novice designers during the design thinking process, which should allow for better design of viable products and services. Third, from the knowledge gained from this research, professional organizations can enhance design processes for both individuals and teams. Fourth and lastly, because the amount of research done on this topic is minimal, this study’s results and findings contribute greatly to the body of knowledge on differences in decision-making during design thinking processes involving expert and novice designers.

This research study was based on a qualitative method; interviews were conducted with fifteen expert designers and fifteen novice designers. The interview questions relied on an intersection between two well-respected theoretical models: the IDEO design thinking model and the CECA decision-making model; this approach helped to get more details on the differences between expert and novice designers.

The results showed that there are many differences between expert and novice designers while approaching the design thinking process, which can affect the quality of design projects. The most significant differences between expert and novice designers were in the inspiration stage where the designers are trying to define the problem, understand it, and collect the data about it. Through the cognitive maps that were created based on the results, the cognition activities of the expert designers are higher than the cognition activities of the novice designers. Expert designers tend to use more resources and tools to define the problem, collect the data, and filter the collected data, which deepens their understanding of the problem more than the novice designers.

Finally, The results of this study confirm that the organizations, educators, and researchers should draw their attention to this issue and try to find practical solutions to help eliminate the effect of these differences between expert and novice designers on the design process.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

8-31-2022

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