Can visual facilitation beat verbal facilitation?

Roché Boedhoe, Petra Badke-Schaub

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    This paper analyzes the effect of visual and verbal facilitation in an interdisciplinary design setting. The depending variables were (the process of gaining) cross and shared understanding in the group, the outcome variable was design creativity. Based on literature research and a field study, a visual facilitation protocol materialized as a set of rules has been developed which guides a facilitator. The protocol has been tested by conducting twenty between-group experiments with (non-design) Master students following visual and verbal facilitation. In the visual facilitation condition, the groups were guided by means of sketching and in the verbal condition the groups were guided verbally. The results show significantly higher shared understanding when working with the visual facilitation protocol. However, visual facilitation resulted in lower creativity-in particular, novelty. These findings suggest that visual facilitation might be an effective method for constructing shared understanding during interdisciplinary design collaboration, but at the same time the high level of sharedness between team members negatively relates to design creativity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED17)
    Subtitle of host publicationHuman Behaviour in Design
    EditorsA. Maier, S. Škec, H. Kim, M. Kokkolaras, J. Oehmen, G. Fadel, F. Salustri, M. van der Loos
    PublisherThe Design Society
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-904670-96-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventICED17: 21st International Conference on Engineering Design - Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017

    Publication series

    NumberDS 87-8
    ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342




    • Collaborative design
    • Creativity
    • Design process
    • Sketching

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