The neurodesign group is interested in all four pillars of design thinking, also known as the
4P: Creative People, Processes, Places and Products.
On this site you find sample projects, where we develop solutions for monitoring and facilitation.
One major concern in our research group is to provide automated measurement and feedback.
The video game Immune Defense measures creativity in individuals online (< 10 min).
CollaboUse measures creativity in individuals and teams online. The test builds on the assessment approach of a widely used creativity test, the Alternate Uses Task (< 5 min).
The Sentence Generation Task provides measures for creativity in language. Participants think up sentences based on four-letter-prompts (< 5 min).
In the Creative Writing Task, people improvise essays online, based on a writing prompt. Assessments are available for individuals and teams (10 min each).
TheC-Tracer is a tool to measure creativity in any kind of digitally recorded activity. Measures are based on the definition of creativity, considering the novelty and effectiveness of someone’s behaviour.
The Empathyproject looked closer into how we understand the needs of other people. It also addressed biases that hinder a mutual understanding. This project provides numerous resources on the neuroscientific background of empathy, and pointers to measurement approaches.
In terms of design thinking frameworks, we are interested in the overview of Person-Related Factors that impact creative performance.
The team pursues two major objectives concerning creative processes. One objective is to describe, explain, predict and train creative developments in any domain. The second objective is to investigate how materials impact creative processes: What difference does it make whether the creator works with sounds, visuals, body motion, language or numbers?
In the Game of Invention, players make inventions individually and in the team, based on randomly assigned cultural raw materials and values. This game trains seven basic mechanisms of invention.
In the Game of Innovation, players decide whether they want to invest their resources in incremental or radical innovation. The game is used to investigate human decision-making, and expectable innovation developments under varying conditions.
The Computational Process Model distinguishes seven mechanisms of invention, which can be trained separately. It is also a basis for predicting innovation developments in a culture domain.
We create software and hardware for Warm-Up Games in Remote Teamwork. Many of them are based on joint motion and/or verbal communication. We also investigate the impact of warm up games on subsequent team performance.
Schaeffer’s Charades is a software that permits a direct comparison of creative processes with sound versus visual material. As in the popular game “charades”, participants are asked to convey concepts. In Schaeffer’s Charades, participants do so by staging little movies, placing and moving either visuals or sound objects in a 3D space.
In terms of design thinking frameworks, we are interested in an overview of Process-Related Factors that impact creative performance.
The team pursues three major objectives on behalf of places. First, there is systematic research on the impact of places, from small-scale environments such as a desktop background up to large-scale environments like a political union. This research includes a provision of resources for the design of favourable environments. Second, we explore the future of work, especially regarding human-computer interaction and remote work. Third, we investigate the impact of available material resources in a space on the development of creativity and work performance. This research is pursued with a focus on sound material as a complement to visuals, languangage-based or number-based work materials.
The Place-Design-Template allows you to design places in ways that encourage desired behaviours and feelings. One aim can be to encourage creative behaviour, fostering feelings of excitement and engagement. This template has emerged from multi-method research on the impact of places.
Design thinking environments benefit from the provision of music, helping people to aqcuire favourable moods and mindsets during creative work. The Background Music project analyses the sentiment of songs automatically, and tools are provided that help you put together your own playlist for next workshops.
One sample project on the future of work is the Smart Garden Office. It seeks to enhance the human-nature relationship, facilitating more body motion, well-being and productivity at work. As a key technology, the project uses Sonic Scopes, allowing users to move freely in garden spaces or other prepared environments, while maintaining a high-quality audio connection with remote collaboration partners.
Sonyxenriches the work environment for exploratory programming, based on auditory displays. Programmers are equipped with additional tooling, allowing them to inspect and monitor source code through sounds.
In terms of design thinking frameworks, we are interested in an overview of Place-Related Factors that impact creative performance.
The team pursues two major objectives concerning creative products. First, we facilitate the development of good, worthwhile and ethically sound innovation by developing need-based product assessments. Second, we develop innovative products in the realms of design thinking and art.
The Needs-Based Outcome Assessment (NOA) allows designers and also political decision makers to reflect on the benefits and risks of a product. The analysis screens seven categories of basic human need.
The Needs-Dictionary is an extension to the software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. It allows an automatic screening of text documents from design (thinking) projects. Users obtain numeric feedback as to which need domains are well-addressed, compared to potential blind spots that might exist in other need domains.
The Economics Dictionary is another extension to the software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. It can be used with text documents from design thinking projects and further sources such as political position papers. The dictionary provides automatic feedback on economic considerations in texts, spanning a number of categories such as markets, labour or trade.
In terms of design thinking frameworks, we are interested in an overview of Product-Related Factors that impact creativity and innovation.
These are some sample products co-developed by team members of this group:
Tele-Board MED is a medical documentation system, where doctors and patients get to work on treatment notes in a collaborative manner.
Environmental Instruments is an art project, at the intersection of technology, music and ecology. Artificial neural networks are used to encode the soundscape of selected places, for instance in a public park. The network can then be “played” like a musical instrument via a three dimensional movement interface.
The Genetic Musical Material Generator allows you to create musical compositions co-creatively with an AI, based on stochastic processes, your musical preferences and genetic algorithms.
The Neurodesign Cards provide an overview of neuroscientific research findings that are relevant for design thinking. They highlight implications for all 4P: Creative People, Processes, Places and Products.
Where to Read More
A number of neurodesign projects are reviewed in publications such as
von Thienen, J. P. A., Szymanski, C., Santuber, J., Plank, I. S., Rahman, S., Weinstein, T., Owoyele, B., Bauer, M. & Meinel, C. (2021). Neurodesign live. In H. Plattner, C. Meinel and L. Leifer (eds.), Design thinking research. Interrogating the doing (pp. 357-425). Cham: Springer.
von Thienen, J. P. A., Kolodny, O. & Meinel, C. (in press). Neurodesign: The biology, psychology and engineering of creative thinking and innovation. In N. Rezaei (ed.), Brain, Decision-Making, and Mental Health. Springer.