Interior Design Program


Date of this Version

Summer 7-2015


Van der Poll, Marijn. "Conceptual Thinking: How To Quantify Meaning In Projects And Processes Through Structured Non Linear Thinking." MS thesis. UNL, 2015. Print.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Betsy Gabb. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Marijn van der Poll


Things have meaning. Your job, your smartphone, even your insurance has another layer of meaning than its intended reason for existence. Products have become complex combinations of applications and features so small, that their shape no longer characterizes them. As people we have evolved into empowered consumers looking for purpose in our lives and in the things we buy. Advertising discovered the power of meaning more than a century ago. Since then, what has proven difficult is to quantify meaning. The skills we are taught in our educational system and the processes we apply in business fall short of identifying the bigger picture – the patterns that point to what something means. Conceptual Thinking uses a step-by-step process to uncover meaning and create Concepts that can in turn be developed into meaning-based solutions. Conceptual Thinking is not a model, but an individual skill that is trained through exercises and theory; over time it becomes an intuitive skill. This study describes the development of the process by the author as well as three case studies pointing to the potential to be mined from an evolving, structured, non-linear form of creative thinking.

Adviser: Betsy Gabb