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More than the sum of the parts
2008-09-10 11:47:14 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Sonia in action

In his PhD’s dissertation, Ben Shaw discusses «how shared representations enhance design collaboration. I draw on examples from my field study at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where real-time teams have radically accelerated the design of next generation exploratory spacecraft and science missions to Mars. My results highlight the roles representations play in generating possibilities, synthesizing perspectives and consolidating commitment to action, thereby helping collaborative groups bring about preferred futures.»

For his dissertation he created a few network animations of the Nasa designers team meetings.
«The behavior of these networks reflects important aspects of the interaction taking place in a design meeting at any given time, including the level of support and commitment expressed for different proposals, the extent to which participants engage one another’s points of view, and the degree of integration of shared representations in conversation. This behavior can be visualized using animated layout diagrams such as those below (produced with a program called SoNIA and viewed in Quicktime movies). The qualitative information conveyed by these diagrams can be complemented by applying numerical metrics to the network structures, as described in the dissertation.»

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