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A QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION OF ENGINEERING DESIGN METHODOLOGIES AND THE EFFECT ON THE CREATIVITY OF SYSTEM ARCHITECTURES FOR COMPLEX TECHNICAL SYSTEMS Open Access

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System engineering managers have an increasing competitive need to produce more creative system architectures. As a result, systems engineering managers are forced to rely more on writing technical proposals that included unique, value-added, solutions to meet performance objectives. Many experts proclaim the effectiveness of methods and techniques that produce creative technical solutions. However, it is not conclusive that the degree to which the owners of these techniques have more empirical evidence than anecdotal evidence to support any claims of effectiveness. To address this lack of evidence, this research evaluates creativity enhancing methods and techniques as applied to the systems engineering design process. The research used a quasi-experimental design to determine if there was a significant difference in the effect two training treatments had on the creativity of system architectures. The treatments were a Systematic Engineering Design Method (SEDM) and the Intuitive Engineering Design Method (IEDM). The SEDM was based on requirements-driven ideas, analytical decision-making, and criteria-based idea selection. The IEDM treatment was based on expressive techniques designed to increase the number of ideas generated, stimulate free-flowing dialogue, and remove the inhibitions to selecting the most creative ideas. The over arching question was which engineering design method had greater effect on the creativity of systems architectures. Here, creativity was a function of novelty, utility, and wholeness of the system architectures as evaluated by a panel of judges. The treatments were applied to four training sessions lasting 10-weeks and continued over a 12-month period. The results showed that a SEDM was better at producing novelty and utility in complex system architectures than the IEDM when systems engineering professionals produce them and domain experts evaluate them.

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