Using digital technologies for collaborative conceptual design

Mills, Joeseph and Brisco, Ross; Bohemia, Erik and Buck, Lyndon and Grierson, Hilary, eds. (2022) Using digital technologies for collaborative conceptual design. In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2022). The Design Society, GBR. ISBN 9781912254163 (

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Since the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic outbreak, and the requirement to 'stay at home' and 'work from home', we, as a collaborative species have been forced to find ways of computer-supported collaboration. Going beyond global design and distributed design. We now find ourselves as a human race, not with a desire to collaborate using computers, or with a requirement, but it is now a necessity. In many ways, a paradigm shift has occurred. This research investigates the use of novel technology to support student teams in the conceptual design phase of an engineering design project. A review of published literature identified a lack of understanding in the impact that a digital distributed environment can have on the outcomes of a collaborative ideation task. The literature suggested there would be little to no change between working in a collocated and digital distributed environment. An experiment was designed that asked 16 participants working in pairs to complete an ideation task in both a synchronous traditional collocated environment and a synchronous digital distributed environment. The results from the experiment suggest that conducting the ideation task within a digital environment has a negative effect on the outcomes of the ideation task.