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.


Prof. Larry Leifer, PhD

Rumor has it that Larry arrived at Stanford in time to register for autumn quarter in 1958.  He was fresh off the … > more

Neeraj Sonalkar

Neeraj is a doctoral student at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. The question that motivates his … > more