Container Challenge – Protyping Distributed Collaboration

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Kurikka
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1Aalto University School of Science; 2Current Address: CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research
Section: International Collaboration
Page(s): 504-509
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


This paper describes the process and results of “Container Challenge”, a remote collaboration exercise that was designed to help global, multi-disciplinary teams to prototype their online collaboration tools while they were still co-located during a course kick-off at CERN. The exercise was organized in the first week of advanced product design course called Challenge Based Innovation, where the multidisciplinary students from countries around Europe met each other for two weeks to start a five-month long collaboration. The teams worked on a short design challenge in “containers” that simulated the coming division they would encounter after travelling back to their home universities. The purpose of the exercise was to help the teams to use prototyping and iterative design methods, not only on products and services, but also while designing their own working process. The previous experiences from similar courses has shown to authors, that a dedicated exercise would be needed to guide the teams to actually test and improve their collaboration plans during their first two weeks together. While there was no statistically significant comparison, the implemented Container Challenge -exercise seemed to have positive effects in developing collaboration plan; the challenge brought out several issues related to distributed work, including the need for virtual empathy and occurrence of increased complication when reflecting on the design activities. It also managed to serve as a shared learning experience that could be used to improve the future collaboration of the teams.

Keywords: Online collaboration, prototyping, product design, communication planning


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