Improvisational Interaction in Collaborative Design Process

By Lucas Lacerda and WonJoon Chung.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Team collaboration has increasingly been employed in new product development as a way to achieve novel design concepts. Because it is crucial to share ideas, experiences, and knowledge for innovation in work groups, contemporary research endeavours to find alternatives to improve design team practice. One may argue that sketches, early prototypes and brainstorming are potential social interactive tools toward creative collaboration. However, some specific questions – how can participants create novel ideas in a collaborative manner? and what are the crucial factors in generating innovative ideas in a group setting? – are still unclear and need to be developed further.

According to sociological studies, ideas are generated and developed collectively rather than individually through improvised dialogues in conversation, music, dance, and theatre. Improvisation is, therefore, a dynamic social interaction and a powerful method to enhance creativity, refine performance, and maximize innovation. In a similar vein, this paper argues that serendipitous idea creation or unexpected idea discovery is a sort of improvisational activity during a collaborative design process. Through careful observation of improvisation in jazz and theatre, this research investigates the nature of improvisation and identifies some of its key aspects to verify its applicability into collaborative design practice for innovation.

Keywords: Design Process, Improvisation, Collaboration, Innovation

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 812.143KB).

Lucas Lacerda

Master Student, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lucas Lacerda is currently a graduate student from the Master's of Design program at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has a BA in Industrial Design at University of Brasilia, Brazil. He has worked in the field of branding design developing logos, signage, commercial furniture, and manufacturing process in studios in Brazil and Canada. In addition, Lucas has worked with musical instrument design allying innovative solutions to the tradition of instrument-making. His main research interests include improvisation, prototyping, interdisciplinary collaborative design, sustainability, design education, product sound and music.

WonJoon Chung

Assistant Professor, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

WonJoon Chung (BA/MA/PhD) is a professor at the School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has experience in product design and teaching master students without a design background at Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Research interests include 1) Collaborative Prototyping in an Interdisciplinary Context for New Product Definition, 2) Ethnographic Design Research for User-Centered Design Approach and 3) Design Methods for Innovative Product Development.

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