Requirements framing affects design creativity

Rahul Mohanani, Burak Turhan, Paul Ralph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Design creativity, the originality and practicality of a solution concept, is critical for the success of many software projects. However, little research has investigated the relationship between the way desiderata are presented and design creativity. This study therefore investigates the impact of presenting desiderata as ideas, requirements or prioritized requirements on design creativity. Two between-subjects randomized controlled experiments were conducted with 42 and 34 participants. Participants were asked to create design concepts from a list of desiderata. Participants who received desiderata framed as requirements or prioritized requirements created designs that are, on average, less original but more practical than the designs created by participants who received desiderata framed as ideas. This suggests that more formal, structured presentations of desiderata are less appropriate where more innovative solutions are desired. The results also show that design performance is highly susceptible to minor changes in the vernacular used to communicate desiderata.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-947
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Cognitive bias
  • creativity
  • design
  • experiment
  • originality
  • practicality
  • requirements
  • prioritization

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