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Using Adaption-Innovation Theory to Simulate Robustness in Design Teams

N. Radwan, and C. McComb
2020, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computational Creativity

Creative design is often accomplished through teams, and the specific composition of those teams can limit or enhance the sum creativity. However, it is not known how team composition is related to a team’s ability to achieve good solutions over various problems (i.e., robustness). Here, we build that relationship between composition and robustness through a series of agent-based simulations. The factor that we specifically investigate is cognitive style, which describes the manner in which individuals solve problems and present solutions in social interactions based on cognitive processes. Under Kirton’s Adaption Innovation (KAI) Theory, cognitive style is related to creativity. Specifically, an individual’s KAI score, the defining measure of cognitive style, describes the degree to which they prefer high-utility solutions, or high-novelty solutions - the two necessary conditions for creativity. In many cases the long-term success of a team is closely tied to their ability to perform consistently well across multiple design problems, termed robustness. Leveraging computational agents, we use adaption-innovation theory as the primary factor to examine robustness among homogenous and heterogeneous agents. Different approaches to composing teams with homogenous and heterogeneous cognitive styles did not substantially impact robustness. However, the average robustness of the teams improved as team size increased.