ENME 421 - Engineering Design Ideation

3 Credits



None required.


Corequisite: ENME 371


Engineering Design Ideation is a technical elective for engineering students who wish to improve their ability to produce design ideas (i.e., the ideation process) for further development into conceptual ideas. Ideation is the creative, idea generation activity that happens at the beginning of the conceptual design process. Ideation methods are often built around creativity improving strategies and are often designed for individual use prior to presenting the results in a team setting.


Given any of the design methods presented in the course, participant will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the method by:

  • Describing the method as a series of instructional steps and draw relationships between the method-specific steps and the general engineering design process.
  • Applying the method to an unfamiliar but well-described design task to create a feasible solution.
  • Applying the method to a selected case study topic to create multiple feasible solutions.
  • Write essays with referenced evidence as required to discuss characteristics of the methods and to compare and contrast different ideation methods.


  • Creativity in engineering design
  • Ideation’s purpose
  • Ideation methods:
    • Brainstorming
    • Synectics
    • Functional decomposition with function structures  
    • Morphological charts  
    • WordTree with WordNet®  
    • Bio-inspired design  
    • TRIZ, Theory of Inventive Problem Solving
  • Analogical thinking
  • Cognitive aspects of ideation

Learning Outcomes 

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • an ability to communicate effectively
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • Two 75 minute lectures per week

Last Updated By 
Linda Schmidt, June 2017