Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

2014 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings


1-21 (24.752)

Conference Name

2014 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 15-18, 2014


This paper investigates the use of Analytic Hierarchy Process to teach design creativity and innovation in undergraduate engineering students. Examples are included to assess its effectiveness in the classroom. The purpose of this research is to investigate the suitability of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to teach design innovation and creativity in undergraduate engineering classrooms. AHP is a very structured, multi-criteria, decision-making process and traditionally has been used to solve complex problem sets. This investigation takes a fresh look at how AHP provides the framework to engage and encourage students to think creatively and innovatively in design and engineering. This paper presents several separate case studies that incorporate the AHP technique in the classroom to teach design innovation and creativity to undergraduate engineering students, including introduction at the freshmen engineering level. These case studies include: the design of a robotic water vehicle; the design of a coffee maker; and the design of a website. These diverse case studies explore the suitability of this decision-making technique across abroad range of design problems to assess how AHP can be utilized to give students a better understanding of the design process, to foster a personal motivation towards creative and innovative thinking and to equip students with a strategy for creative problem solving theycan use through their engineering careers. Students who participated in the case studies completed questionnaires to assess the application of AHP and its effectiveness to understand the problem and to reach a creative and innovative solution. Based on the results of these student questionnaires, there is positive evidence that AHP can be utilized to remove barriers that inhibit creativity and to foster an environment for students to achieve more design creativity and innovation in engineering classrooms. This study has implications to change the pedagogical approach used to teach engineering design and provides a methodology for design creativity that students will carry with them throughout their career.


© 2014 American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 15-18, 2014.

Original Publication Citation

Michaeli, J. G., Hou, G., Hu, X., & Hou, M. (2014). Initial investigation of analytic hierarchy process to teach creativity in design and engineering. Paper presented at the 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.