Research

Empathic Design (Extreme Experience Design)

Summary:
The objective of this project is to establish a structured conceptual design methodology—Extreme Experience Design (EED)—that stimulates innovation of breakthrough products by engaging designers in extreme experiences as part of concept generation. Extreme experiences expose the designer(s) to modified physical usage environments (e.g., moisture or noise) or altered means of interacting with the product physically, cognitively, or sensorially (e.g., limited dexterity via gloves or limited hearing via earplugs). These experiences are designed to help designers empathize with customers under a variety of conditions, and thereby design for the types of context-related latent needs that lead to breakthrough products. A series of experiments is planned to design and refine the EED methodology, to investigate its effectiveness, and to better understand how a designer’s pre-ideation experiences affect the results of conceptual design. A two-phased Design of Experiments approach will be used to test the effectiveness of the EED methodology. The first phase will be designed to investigate the impact of extreme experiences and designer-prototype interaction—together and separately—on the outcomes of the conceptual design process.  The second phase will be designed to investigate more closely whether different types of extreme experiences lead to different types of innovation.

Collaborator:
Katja Holtta-Otto (UMass-Dartmouth)

Students:
Danny Johnson

(Alumni: Matthew Saunders, Joseph Lin, Matthew Green)

 

Sponsor:

National Science Foundation

Related Publications:

Saunders, M., C.C. Seepersad, and K. Holtta-Otto, 2011, "The Characteristics of Innovative Mechanical Products," ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, Vol. 133, No. 2, pp. 021009-1-9.

Genco, N., D. Johnson, K. Holtta-Otto and C. C. Seepersad, 2011, "A Study of the Effectiveness of the Empathic Experience Design Creativity Technique," ASME IDETC Design Theory and Methodology Conference, Washington, DC, Paper Number: DETC2011-021711.

Genco, N., K. Holtta-Otto and C. C. Seepersad, 2011, "Factors that Influence the Creativity of Engineering Students," ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, BC.

Genco, N., K. Holtta-Otto and C.C. Seepersad, 2010, “An Experimental Investigation of the Innovation Capabilities of Engineering Students,” ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Louisville, KY. Best Paper Award for ASEE Design in Engineering Education Division and Professional Interest Council II.

Green, M., C.C. Seepersad, and K. Holtta-Otto, 2010, “Extreme Experience Interviews for Innovative Designs: Classroom Assessment of a New Needs-Gathering Method,” ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Louisville, KY.Best Paper Award for ASEE Mechanical Engineering Division.

Saunders, M. N., C. C. Seepersad and K. Holtta-Otto, 2009, "The Characteristics of Innovative, Mechanical Products," ASME IDETC Design Theory and Methodology Conference, San Diego, CA, Paper Number: DETC2009-87382. Best Paper Award for 2011 ASME IDETC Design Theory and Methodology Conference.

Lin, J. and C. C. Seepersad, 2007, "Empathic Lead Users: The Effects of Extraordinary User Experiences on Customer Needs Analysis and Product Redesign," ASME IDETC/CIE Design Theory and Methodology Conference, Las Vegas, NV. Paper Number: DETC2007-35302.