The effect of analogical distance between design stimuli and design problem on novelty and quality of generated concepts is investigated in this research. Data from a design project involving 105 student designers, divided into 21 teams and individually generating 226 concepts of spherical rolling robots, is collected. From this data, 138 concepts generated with patents as stimuli and the patents used as stimuli are analyzed. Analogical distance of a patent is measured in terms of the knowledge distance of the technology classes constituting this patent from the technology classes constituting the design problem domain of spherical rolling robots. The key findings are: (a) technology classes in closer than farther distance from the design problem are used more frequently to generate concepts, (b) as analogical distance increases the novelty of concepts increases, and (c) as analogical distance decreases the quality of concepts increases. These observations have implications on choosing stimuli to generate concepts of desired novelty and quality.

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