Collaborative design thinking: Reasoning through sketching and on-the-fly physical prototyping in distance collaboration

PI: Larry Leifer


Prototyping is an intermediary between different disciplinary perspectives and improves communication between different stakeholders, such as designers and users. However, very little research focuses on collaborative design reasoning through rapid and low-fidelity “on-the-fly” prototyping. Most design reasoning studies investigated sketching activities. Additionally, distance collaboration has greatly increased and is required to solve global challenges. As on-the-fly prototyping seems to enable interdisciplinary collaborative design reasoning, this study is interested in the distinct collaborative design reasoning in distance collaboration. The study investigates design collaboration via video call as protocol analysis. The protocol analysis is used to examine collaborative reasoning through sketching and prototyping and examines the differences and similarities. The research aims to examine five expert design teams in these distance collaboration design activities. Through a better understanding of collaboration through prototyping and sketching activities in globally distributed teams, education exercises and design practices can be developed to facilitate intensive team collaboration activities required to tackle global challenges.


Jan Auernhammer, Lawrence Domingo