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A Visual Approach to Idea Representation


  • Knowledge of Graphic Programming Models

(Web Based SVG/Canvas, WebGL or OpenGL for a Desktop Solution)

Academic Advisor
Human-Computer Interaction, Collaborative Ideation
Master of Science (M.Sc.)



Ideas to Market


Open Innovation Challenges are promising, but in current projects (OpenIdeo, Quirky) ideas are submitted as either short text snippets or as long HTML forms with fixed group of text inputs and displayed as a List of Sections. Furthermore, recent work on the design of Idea Management Systems (6) has found out that the representation of ideas is too rigid in terms of idea representation. For new ideas, there are many dimensions to consider when talking about them, analyzing and understanding them and ultimately assess their originality and usefulness.

Current approaches of collaborative ideation are based on People writing down their idea as text, then refining it as text, and then answering more questions about it in text, or dropdown answers (i.e. OpenIdeo). Furthermore people see the ideas in text only as well.

The Hypothesis of this theses is, that by arranging parts of an idea in a spatial representation, visual/spatial approaches of the brain could be stimulated to understand ideas better or quicker

Related Work has shown, that using visual and spatial representation leads to a better support of the general population:

70% of the general population are better in visual and spatial skills than verbal and mathematical skills. By using “mathematics of ideas” to incorporate ideas as mathematical structures within virtual/augmented reality, then humans can apply their visual and spatial skills to manipulate and create new ideas. (1)


Test a novel visual approach to communication of ideas, in order to improve the idea communication in collaborative ideation.


  • Read related work on how to model ideas (3)
  • Extract idea dimensions from the I2M Project, OpenIdeo and Quirky
  • Model a graphical representation of an idea
  • Implement this graphical representation
  • Conduct a User Study where you compare visual ideas (could be handcrafted) to text based ideas
  • Assessment of Usability (UEQ)
  • Assessment of Sensemaking (Find a good Questionnaire or come up with your own)


(1) https://medium.com/@mark..lee/realizing-ada-lovelaces-dream-of-human-machine-symbiosis-with-b43fb94d04c5 (Framing)

(2) Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C., Cohen, M., Jacobs, S., Elmqvist, N., & Diakopoulos, N. (2016). Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction. Pearson.

(3) Westerski, Adam, Theodore Dalamagas, and Carlos A. Iglesias. "Classifying and comparing community innovation in Idea Management Systems." Decision Support Systems 54.3 (2013): 1316-1326.

(4) Spence, Robert. Information visualization. Vol. 1. New York: Addison-Wesley, 2001.

(5) Eppler, Martin J. "A comparison between concept maps, mind maps, conceptual diagrams, and visual metaphors as complementary tools for knowledge construction and sharing." Information visualization 5.3 (2006): 202-210.

(6) Inie, Nanna, Peter Dalsgaard, and Steven Dow. "Designing Idea Management Tools: Three Challenges." Proceedings of Drs 2018 International Conference. Design Research Society, 2018.