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Page history last edited by david.jacques@... 15 years, 6 months ago







Implementing local variations of a globally shared design concept or idea facilitates the development of a shared understanding in cross-cultural collaborative design learning.


Cultural Context

Supports Collectivist Community Orientation cultures. Bridges High and Low Contextual Communication Orientation, Universal and Particular Standard Orientation, Achievement and Ascription Orientation, High and Low Uncertainty Avoidance Orientation and differing Time Orientation cultures.


This pattern was observed in Hong Kong/Korean and Hong Kong/Taiwanese design collaboration



You used the ANNOTATED DESIGN GALLERY to promote sharing ideas, references and design examples among the distributed local design learning teams.



Distributed design students work parallel in local design teams. In online discussions they propose and discuss multiple ideas. However, they have difficulties to decide which ideas are feasible should be further developed. Hence they argue for different ideas without finding a compromise.



How can you promote the emergence and development of shared design ideas and solutions?



Collectivist Community want to develop a collectively accepted design concept. However, local teams have to explore the feasibility of a globally discussed design concept. While High Contextual Communication Orientation and Particular Standard Orientation collaborators prefer to explore ideas through drawings and mock-ups, Low Contextual Communication Orientation and Universal Standard Orientation cultures prefer to express and test ideas in written concepts, especially early in the design process. While the design process progresses, design ideas and interim solutions need to be explored experimentally in hands-on activities to stimulate discussions about shared design ideas in the local distributed teams. The implementation of design ideas establishes an awareness of possible problems and changes that need to be addressed in the design proposal. However, students have different opinion towards when, why and in which fidelity implementations of design ideas are made in the design process. Some members contribute design representations in different stages of fidelity and complexity continuously from the early stages onwards in the process. While these synchronous. Polychronous Time Orientation and Particular Standard Orientation cultures develop design ideas through frequent implementation, Monochronic Time Orientation and Universal and Particular Standard Orientation culture need to develop a theoretical understanding and strong concept before they start executing the implementation of their ideas. High Uncertainty Avoidance Orientation cultures don’t want to do anything wrong and wait until they are certain about their ideas in order to implement them. This can lead to ill-defined conflicts because Particular Standard and Polychronic Time cultures assume laziness behind this approach.



Support the implementation of local variations of globally shared design concepts and ideas at any level of fidelity and stage of the design process.

Local variations expressed in scribbles, sketches, virtual or physical prototypes are based on a shared understanding of the design space. This is displayed in the ANNOTATED DESIGN GALLERY in which possible solutions are displayed. Students interpret local variations from global solutions displayed in this shared space. They test ideas locally and compare local variations in conversations online in order to reorganize the solution space.



Shared knowledge is gained through multi modal High and Low Contextual Communication of design ideas in cross-cultural teams. Sharing and comparing variations of local implementations helps team members to co-construct knowledge. Although, some cultures feel uncomfortable to implement early, they are inspired through evaluations of other members’ variations and encouraged to also offer variations based on the newly gained shared understanding from their evaluation. A product implementation can dominate the discussion, so that other team members want to measure up with implementing their design variations. Furthermore, frequent and early implementations allow for more certainty in the design process. This supports gaining common ground in design collaboration.

Through the implementation and comparison of local variations universal ideas that were negotiated in the team, are tested and particular improvements are made. Hence the strength of both cultural dimensions is exploited. This balances needs and goals of Achievement and Ascription Orientation cultures because hands on achievements as well as idealistic ascription values are considered in this process.


Resulting Context

LOCAL VARIATIONS can be displayed and shared in the ANNOTATED DESIGN GALLERY. Use STRUCTURED CHAT to negotiate and detect skills of each member and utilize SUMMING UP to distribute appropriate tasks related to the implementation of local variations among the members. In early stages the GRAFFITI WALL can be used to visually explore and collaboratively draw design ideas.


Related Work

Although this solution seems very intuitive, the author was unable to identify related work.


<-- Design Patterns Network

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 10:42 am on Jul 1, 2008

I observed this pattern to work in synchronous white board/video/chat sessions, too.
Cultural Context: UK
Context: design learning and flashmeeting experiments with distance learning students varying age and professional background. They were discussing a sustainable product/system design for 1 h each time in an online meeting over 6 weeks.
Problem: gain common ground and find a common solution
Forces: white board sketch limitations and problems coming up wit ideas immediately in synchronous discussion
tutors asked to do some idea sketches within the week
solution: do a sketch before meeting in the week between meetings and upload it to the white broad to discuss
consequences: discussants could narrow down the direction they wanted to push the design project and discussion for the meeting, become aware of variations in ideas, discuss and evolve ideas synchronously. The local variations were also a good way to remember the meeting contents when session was replayed.

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