Does a Persona Improve Creativity?

 

Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) scale (Aron et al., 1992)

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test whether the priming of a brainstorming task by a persona increases ideational fluency and originality, i.e. the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of creative performance. We conducted a preliminary (n = 18) and final (n = 32) experiment with international students of business. These experiments revealed that priming of brainstorming by a persona increases originality of ideas by a large effect size (Cohen’s d = .91, p = .02), and not significantly ideational fluency by a medium effect size (Cohen’s d = .33, p = .39). As an alternative explanation to empathy, the found creativity effect may be attributed to priming that retrieves related memory items and thereby facilitates idea generation. As practical implications, design thinking practitioners can expect more original ideas and overcome design fixation if they brainstorm on a persona which is modelled in a concise and consistent way that caters to understanding the user need.

Keywords

empathy, persona, creativity, originality, ideational fluency, brainstorming, brainwriting, design methodology, design thinking, design research

 

 

 

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