A training strategy for managing distributed conceptual design work

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Wodehouse, Andrew J. (1); Farrugia, Philip J. (2); Grierson, Hilary J. (1); Borg, Jonathan C. (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom; 2: University of Malta, Malta
Page(s): 001-010
ISBN: 978-1-904670-51-3
ISSN:  2220-4334


This paper reviews how sketching can support distributed student design teams in the early phases of concept design. When working in the limited communication channels of distributed teams, sketches can form an important way for teams to build a rapport that would otherwise be difficult. This work reviews the performance of ten distributed student design teams made up of participants from Scotland and Malta who were required to undertake a conceptual design task – the design of cardboard packaging for a wine glass. Issues relating to the creation, use and development of sketches were analyzed for a sample of three teams, and correlated to the communication patterns, team satisfaction and quality of output. It was subsequently found that the team who shared the most ‘talking sketches’, resulted in a higher degree of satisfaction compared to the other teams. Results also suggest that those teams who generated the most ‘thinking sketches’ developed a more robust design solution. These findings form the basis for a strategy to train students to manage distributed concept design work.

Keywords: Distributed teams, sketching, collaboration, conceptual design


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