Identifying Emergent Dysfunctions in Collaborative Design

Project Overview

This project is using concepts from complex systems research to help identify and deal with emergent dysfunctional dynamics in complex collaborative design contexts. This work is led by Mark Klein, Yaneer Bar-Yam, Hiroki Sayama, and Peyman Faratin, .

The Challenge

Collaborative design is challenging because strong interdependencies between the many design issues make it difficult to converge on a single design that is acceptable to all participants and satisfies these dependencies. The dynamics of collaborative design are thus typically characterized by (1) multiple iterations and/or heavy reliance on multi-functional design reviews, both of which expensive and time-consuming, (2) poor incorporation of some design concerns, typically later life-cycle issues such as environmental impact, as well as (3) reduced creativity due to the tendency to incrementally modify known successful designs rather than explore radically different and potentially superior ones.

Our Vision

Complex systems research is devoted to understanding, at a fundamental level, the dynamics of systems made up of interdependent components, and has we argue much to offer to our understanding of the dynamics of collaborative design. This project uses complex systems concepts to identify causes and potential resolutions for emergent dysfunctional dynamics in collaborative design.