PI: Jeremy Bailenson, Prof. Dr. Larry Leifer
Design teams operate in a large number of contexts spanning personal, environmental, organizational, cultural and task-dependent factors. We, as researchers need to be able to study design team interactions by varying these context parameters if we are to create a robust science of design teams that can inform design thinking practice. Immersive virtual reality technology holds the promise to enable design researchers to vary context parameters virtually and study their effect on a larger number of design team interaction scenarios. In order to realize this promise, we propose developing an immersive virtual reality platform for design thinking teams. This platform will serve as a coaching platform for design teams incorporating an action-reflection pedagogy based on Interaction Dynamics Notation, due to its ability to provide a number of team interaction scenarios by varying the context parameters for design. In this proposal, we aim to use the social VR setup we built last year at the Center for Design Research to study the effect of varying task, environment and personality parameters within a VR immersive teamwork experience, on the quality of team interactions and the design outcome produced by the team. Specific deliverables of the project include 1) the study of relationships between varying environment characteristics, personality characteristics and team performance in VR, and 2) design specifications for building a VR Team Simulator.