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  • A very VERY brief survey for my dissertation.

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by HLenn, Apr 12, 2013.

    1. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      Hi everybody. About a month ago I posted a survey on serendipity in design in a different section of this forum. It was poorly written and I made it difficult for you to answer by uploading a text file.

      I have re-written it to be very concise, and I promise it wont take you more than 5 minutes to fill in. It is completely anonymous as well. If you can spare the time to fill it in this weekend then I will be one very happy student. I'd also be interested to hear your stories in this thread, more out of interest than for my dissertation.

      EDIT: forgot the link, It's been a long day!

      http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=4nez03wcroyw228242953

      Thankyou
       
      Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
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    3. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      Hi again. I posted this on Reddit and had some feedback that it is just a survey on the effect of dumb luck. Without talking it down I would actually say that that is accurate. No matter how minor you consider a coincidence to be, based on the literature I used to construct this, it can be considered serendipitous.
       
    4. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Much better idea doing the online survey. I've had a look and I will complete it but I need to think about the answers a bit actually.

      It's tempting to just put "sometimes" across the board. In my view serendipity in design would be an idea or a flash of inspiration for a solution. Often this could be triggered stumbling across a component or product that gives such an idea. Sometimes an idea will just pop into my head! In my case it's difficult to pin down how and when this happens. It could be at the bus stop or in the middle of the night or watching a TV show. It could be whilst I'm modelling on SolidWorks or sketching ideas down on a piece of paper. It's almost impossible to define the triggers. Hence my thought on selecting "sometimes" globally.
       
    5. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      I understand what you mean. Several studies do seem consider serendipity to be an overused term, and from what I've experienced whilst writin my report I would probably agree. Researching this topic I would consider it better broken down into creativity and cognition. the only way to accurately understand it at a quantitative level would probably involve MRI scanning to to test response to stimulus. It's also extremely subjective, what some people consider to be serendipitous others consider to be manufactured. Really this should be a study on innovation and the effects of environment in design, however I don't choose my project title. As a result I've made the technical report lean far more towards that side of the research.

      I
      t has actually become somewhat of a 'meta' project. Based on the all encompassing definitions of serendipity from van Andel, every piece of material I used to research it has been encountered, to some extent, serendipitously.
       
    6. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      You know how sometimes you can spend ages banging your head against a wall trying to solve a design problem? You then forget about it for a few days and do something else, and then the solution just pops into your head with almost no effort! Maybe the subconscious was working on it all along! If so you could argue that this type of inspiration is "manufactured". Sometimes happens to me.
       
    7. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      But in terms of psychology, it would be argued that, on a subconscious level, your brain made an association, even if you can't directly recall why. the most likely explanation for this is that when you experience negative emotion, you become less likely to think outside the box, or consider risky ideas. On a basic level it's tied in with fight or flight. Conversely, positive emotions are linked with improved cognitive resources, an increase in creativity, widened perceptual view and better lateral thinking. the result of all of these processes is enhanced complex problem solving. this wasn't manufactured, you removed yourself from a bad creative environment, recovered, and responded.
       
    8. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      Anybody that has replied to this; I've had a number of responses from a few locations, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this. It's helped me immensely, and I'l be mentioning this forum in my acknowledgements.
       
    9. PierArg

      PierArg Well-Known Member

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      Hi HLenn,
      i've just filled in your survey and I enjoyed it.
      I want to ask you a question: are you studying Psycology?

      I strongly agree with Gareth: often I find a solution to a problem when I put it aside to work on another one.
      I think this is the subconsciuos. When you are too focused on a problem your brain is too stressed and it is not capable to think "outside the box"....but this is just my opinion.

      Another important thing is this. Often I find a solution to a problem when I have ideas exchange events (not necessarily on the same problem) with my colleagues.
      As you know, this is called "brainstorming"....but we can see it as an "induced serendipity".:)
       
    10. HLenn

      HLenn Member

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      I study Mechanical Engineering, but the project I was given was on serendipity in design. the hypothesis was that serendipity arises from both strategy and environment, and there isn't too much material on environment. My girlfriend has a psychology degree and suggested a paper that showed the links between creativity and mood, and I really liked the concept that a bad mood directly affects your ability to make associations. For me this was one of the few parts my dissertation that hadn't been studied to death, the rest of it wasn't really new material. I'll admit that learning cognitive psychology had me banging my head against the wall for a few days though!
       
    11. PierArg

      PierArg Well-Known Member

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      Why don't you contac directly some Human Resources Directors of some big companies?
      You could ask them how they deal with this matter. Maybe you don't receive a lot of answers but i think someone will give you a good feedback.
      For example i know that in the great companies everything is studied to improve the employers efficiency...from the colour of the walls of the offices to the shape of the gardens near the entrance.
       

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