College of Computing and Digital Media Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 7-15-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Computing

First Advisor

Daniel Mittleman

Second Advisor

Linda Knight

Third Advisor

Bamishad Mobasher


This study examines strategic, collaborative decision making with the goal of producing more creative solutions. Our experimental approach compares the results of three methods of ideation: manual free brainstorming, manual carousel brainstorming, and electronic carousel brainstorming (as implemented by a group support system). Our finding is that manual and electronic carousel brainstorming yield more creative solutions than does free brainstorming. However, there is little difference between the former methods. Both the manual and electronic forms of carousel brainstorming are equally effective at yielding creative solutions. Strategic, collaborative decision making, when well implemented, results in full consideration of the operational environment and selection of a solution. Yet the process is cumbersome. It is time-consuming. When it fails, it can produce solutions that are suboptimal. For these reasons, a vigilant decision making process is often abridged or neglected entirely. One of the primary causes of that failure is due to cognitive inertia, a tendency to focus on a single solution to the neglect of others (Lamm & Trommsdorff, 1973, p. 364). The reasons for cognitive inertia are explained by the cognitive network model of creativity (Santanen, Briggs & de Vreede, 2000, p. 2). Cognitive inertia is due to a tendency of the mind to resonate around a local cognitive space. Better decision making could be achieved if stimuli were introduced that forced the mind to more remote cognitive spaces. This is accomplished by use of carousel brainstorming. The outcome is more creative solutions.



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