Teaching creativity by change of mind-set: From goal-oriented to open and curious

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Creativity is a wildly debated topic among scholars and practitioners, but one that lacks consensus. Many have tried to define, describe and explain creativity, its purpose, effect and use. Is creativity a personality trait you are born with, or can you learn to become creative? As a design teacher with a teaching practice focused on the skills of creativity, this is a relevant question, because if creativity cannot be learned, then it cannot be taught. The results of observations during a design methodology course for undergraduate design engineering students suggest that there are important common conditions in a learning situation that aims to enhance creativity through practice. In this case, it aims to implement a design thinking mind-set in a product development process. From a teacher perspective, this paper discusses the need to break students’ goal-oriented mind-set, learned from the first day of primary school, to enable them to adopt a creative mind-set. In this context, students with a goal-oriented mind-set will immediately start working on finalising the first idea/solution that comes to mind without considering alternatives. Breaking this mind-set can be done by letting the students’ practical experiences intertwine with self-reflection under teacher guidance. The focus is to identify each students’ motivation to change mind-set by teaching the underlying reasons why creating ideas is hard work, not something that happens by chance. Hence, the teacher’s focus is on generating student awareness those mind-set rules over method so they can embrace a different/new road to finding design solutions.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Design
  • Learning
  • Pedagogical Work


  • Brainstorming, Change of mind-set/attitude, Creativity, Design pedagogy, Problem solving strategies, Synectics
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2018
EditorsStephen Green, Lyndon Buck, Aran Dasan, Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Peter Childs, Ashley Hall
PublisherInstitution of Engineering Designers, The Design Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781912254026
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Event20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2018 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2018 Sep 62018 Sep 7


Conference20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom