What drives Creative Thinking...?

PI: Professor Brian Knutson


Employees’ ability to innovate can decide over the death or survival of companies and jobs, which makes it crucial to understand how innovation is created and to learn what management can do to foster creativity. Recently, the concept of design thinking has been introduced to research on product design. In our project proposal, we set out to investigate what aspects of design thinking are driving individuals’ creativity in product design processes. Using the neuroscientific method of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we develop a set of experiments to test the impact of four factors of design thinking – criticism, prototyping inspiration, and user-centricity – on the activation of brain regions associated with creativity. Our projects aims at producing results in four categories: (1) improving our understanding of the antecedents of what humans are really thinking when they are engaged in creative design innovation, (2) publishing the findings in peer-reviewed, scholarly journal outlets, on the basis of this enhanced understanding, (3) constructing a reliable and valid behavioral measure of creative design thinking, and (4) conducting workshops on the neural underpinning of creative design thinking that addresses the impact of design thinking on technical, business, and human performance.


Dr. Oliver Schilke

Oliver Schilke is part of the project entitled “What drives Creative Thinking in Product Design? A Neuroscientific and … > more

Mark Schar

As a Ph.D. student at the Center for Design Research, Mark is exploring the role of cognitive diversity on design teams. It … > more

Martin Reimann

Martin Reimann is a researcher at the University of Southern California (USA). His research area focuses on the … > more

Prof. Larry Leifer, PhD

Rumor has it that Larry arrived at Stanford in time to register for autumn quarter in 1958.  He was fresh off the … > more