Applied Teamology - The Impact of cognitive diversity on information sharing and decision making within product design teams

PI: Professor Rich Shavelson


Nearly all design work is collaborative. Much attention has been devoted to the “design process” as part of this collaborative effort. However, relatively little attention is paid to the single most important element of the process: the “design thinking” style of the individual team members. Software and product design teams are often formed with participants from different backgrounds with very different knowledge bases, cognitive skill sets and decision-making preferences. The impact of these differences can be a source of both advantage and disadvantage. The fusion of individual cognition and team diversity we call team cognitive diversity. This project proposes collaboration between the various partner universities of the ME 310 Global Design Innovation program to understand how design team members with varying cognitive preferences share information and make decisions. In addition, we will explore several interventions that may improve information sharing and decision-making within cognitively diverse teams. From this, a new and deeper understanding of how to form individuals into successful collaborative groups will be achieved.