The Oscillation between Individual and Social Designing in Co-located Student Teams

Bo Christensen, Sille Julie J. Abildgaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Contemporary approaches to the study of design teams tend to assume that teamwork equates to social interactions, thereby failing to examine the extent to which design team processes involve the assumed joint attention and shared dialogue. Nowadays, mobile personal computing devices enable a situation where almost the entire design process can be carried out anywhere at any time. This also enables teams to work in co-located settings on joint and individual tasks, which allows for both individual and social creative processes during the organised teamwork. In this perspective, this article explores the oscillation between co-located individual and social design activity in student teams. To study the shift from individual to social activity within design teamwork, we surveyed 23 h of student teams’ activity amongst 25 high-school students by coding and analysing captured video of their teamwork while working in a self-imposed manner on a design task. We found that different creative sub-processes, such as information search, problem defining, idea generation, decision-making, and feedback, foster varying degrees of joint attention, and that the joint attention may be established more successfully through analogue and shared digital communicative resources.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)237-257
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 20. December 2018


  • Team designing
  • Individual creativity
  • Social creativity
  • Joint attention
  • Co-located teamwork

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