Analogical Thinking for Generation of Innovative Ideas: An Exploratory Study of Influential Factors

Eunyoung Kim, Hideyuki Horii
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 201-214
Analogical thinking is one of the most effective tools to generate innovative ideas. It enables us to develop new ideas by transferring information from well-known domains and utilizing them in a novel domain. However, using analogical thinking does not always yield appropriate ideas, and there is a lack of consensus among researchers regarding the evaluation methods for assessing new ideas. Here, we define the appropriateness of generated ideas as having high structural and low superficial similarities with their source ideas. This study investigates the relationship between thinking process and the appropriateness of ideas generated through analogical thinking. We conducted four workshops with 22 students in order to collect the data. All generated ideas were assessed based on the definition of appropriateness in this study. The results show that participants who deliberate more before reaching the creative leap stage and those who are engaged in more trial and error for deciding the final domain of a new idea have a greater possibility of generating appropriate ideas. The findings suggest new strategies of designing workshops to enhance the appropriateness of new ideas.
analogical thinking, idea generation, innovation workshops, thinking processes in idea generation, assessment of new ideas
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