The life cycle of creative ideas: Towards a dual-process theory of ideation

Milene Gonçalves*, Philip Cash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Ideation is simultaneously one of the most investigated and most intriguing aspects of design. The reasons for this attention are partly due to its importance in design and innovation, and partly due to an array of conflicting results and explanations. In this study, we develop an integrative perspective on individual ideation by combining cognitive and process-based views via dual-process theory. We present a protocol and network analysis of 31 ideation sessions, based on novice designers working individually, revealing the emergence of eight idea archetypes and a number of process features. Based on this, we propose the Dual-Process Ideation (DPI) Model, which links idea creation and idea judgement. This explains a number of previously contradictory results and offers testable predictive power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100988
Number of pages33
JournalDesign Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • conceptual design
  • creativity
  • design cognition
  • design process(es)
  • dual-process theory


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