Conceptual design stage plays a critical role in product development. However, few systematic methods and tools exist to support conceptual design. The long term aim of this project is to develop a tool for facilitating holistic ideation for conceptual design. This research is a continuation of past efforts in ASU Design Automation Lab. In past research, an interactive software test bed (Holistic Ideation Tool - version 1) was developed to explore logical ideation methods. Ideation states were identified and ideation strategies were developed to overcome common ideation blocks. The next version (version 2) of the holistic ideation tool added Cascading Evolutionary Morphological Charts (CEMC) framework and intuitive ideation strategies (reframing, restructuring, random connection, and forced connection).
Despite these remarkable contributions, there exist shortcomings in the previous versions (version 1 and version 2) of the holistic ideation tool. First, there is a need to add new ideation methods to the holistic ideation tool. Second, the organizational framework provided by previous versions needs to be improved, and a holistic approach needs to be devised, instead of separate logical or intuitive approaches. Therefore, the main objective of this thesis is to make the improvements and to resolve technical issues that are involved in their implementation.
Towards this objective, a new web based holistic ideation tool (version 3) has been created. The new tool adds and integrates Knowledge Bases of Mechanisms and Components Off-The-Shelf (COTS) into logical ideation methods. Additionally, an improved CEMC framework has been devised for organizing ideas efficiently. Furthermore, the usability of the tool has been improved by designing and implementing a new graphical user interface (GUI) which is more user friendly. It is hoped that these new features will lead to a platform for the designers to not only generate creative ideas but also effectively organize and store them in the conceptual design stage. By placing it on the web for public use, the Testbed has the potential to be used for research on the ideation process by effectively collecting large amounts of data from designers.