Example of the 77 Cards ideation tool (front and back of Card #42).

Example of the 77 Cards ideation tool (front and back of Card #42).

Over time, individuals tend to develop or gravitate toward “favorite” approaches for generating ideas based on cognitive comfort and familiarity. Idea generation tools can be used to facilitate new ideation approaches, helping engineers to think beyond their “normal” perspectives and results.

One ideation tool that has been tested to determine its efficacy in an engineering ideation setting is 77 Cards. While the impact of 77 Cards on ideation has been explored in previous work, we have not investigated their interaction with cognitive style. For example, do certain prompts from 77 Cards inherently represent more adaptive or more innovative ideation? How will 77 Cards support students’ coping behaviors, and thus, ideation flexibility? Will students of different cognitive styles apply the same strategies in the same ways or in different ways that align with their cognitive styles? We will explore these and other related research questions in the proposed work.

The 77 Cards Handbook is being developed as a guide for educators in their use of the 77 Cards ideation tool to promote ideation flexibility.  It will also include information on which ideation strategies are more appropriate to use with different types of problem framings based on desired ideation outcomes.