The Personal Trait Myth: A Comparative analysis of the Innovation Impact of Design Thinking Tools and Personal Traits

PI: David Kelley


With this research we aim to experimentally untangle the influence of dispositional (personality) factors versus situational factors (context) on innovative capacity of single designers and ultimately design teams. Building on the d.school bootcamp as context and including EEG and various psychometric instruments as performance metrics, we conduct a series of investigations utilizing a 2x2 setup (design thinking disposition: yes vs. no - and - design thinking situation: yes vs. no).

We hypothesize the positive impact of the design thinking context (such as tools and activities) to be higher than the positive influence of static personality traits and factors. By doing so we intent to experimentally compare traditional static new product development paradigms with dynamic design thinking tools and activities. We strongly believe that altering and leveraging the dynamic context of product development and design is superior to chasing the elusive philosopher stone of a static optimum trait of a designer or optimal composition of a design team.