Visual Diagnostics for Design Thinking Teams Using Immersive Virtual Reality

PI: Larry Leifer, Jeremy Bailenson


Researchers have been investigating – what designers do when they work in teams, and how their performance can be improved – for more than two decades. However, most of these studies have been limited to observing and recording the behavior of teams working in a singular context, thus limiting their ability to translate finding across differing design contexts. On the other hand, the teaching of design teamwork is similarly limited by a low number of practice opportunities. There is a need to create a platform for team interaction that will provide a wider range of context opportunities for design students and professionals to practice working in teams. Concurrently such a platform would serve as a source of big data of team interaction for researchers to advance to the next level of design thinking research. In this proposal we aim to build a scalable platform for design team interaction research and education using immersive virtual reality technology. This proposed research builds on last four years of work developing a diagnostic instrument based on the Interaction Dynamics Notation (IDN) for design thinking teams. This research will deliver 1) a software platform for teams to work in immersive virtual reality, 2) findings on how designers perceive and respond to team interactions in virtual reality, and 3) a set of team scenarios for practice of design thinking teamwork.