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Individual Concept Generation

Objective: To generate creative design solutions, it is best to come up with a high number of concepts at the beginning of a design process without worrying too much about feasibility. Afterwards one can narrow down and select the concept to pursue. It is also essential to be able to communicate the design concepts effectively. In this assignment each students will use their sketching skills to communicate their ideas.


Each team member is to develop 4 design concepts for the contest. Each concept should be written up on a separate page using hand sketches and clear comments. Concepts should be completed BEFORE section, since you will use them in your first team exercise. For each concept include:

  • Name of Concept
  • Hand Sketch of Concept (with annotations – name parts on drawing).
    1. Use a complete plain 8.5”x11” piece of paper for each sketch  
    2. Check out sketch examples below by Ivana Lee and link to one be Robert Hughes.
  • List Advantages and Disadvantages (include ease of fabrication)
  • List all possible failure modes you can think off
  • List highest risk issues in design
  • Describe Possible Risk Reduction Tests for this concept
  • Paper clip (not stapled) all concepts together so they can easily be separated and laid out in front of team.
Robot Concepts by Ivana Lee      
Robot Concepts by Ivana Lee (click figures to enlarge)

What is a Risk Reduction Test?

  • The goal of a Risk Reduction Test is to use the quickest possible way to determine if a design concept will work as planned.
  • It is ok to “cheat” in risk reduction tests; use parts that are not in the kit or look on the web for performance of similar concepts.
  • Examples:
    1. Is there enough energy to make the concept work
    2. How much accuracy is required for the design to work.
    3. Is there enough space for all the machine parts to fit?
    4. Other …
Michael Tolley,
Sep 21, 2015, 6:06 AM