Handle with care: Coaching multi-diverse project groups to become healthy design teams

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Abstract

In the IPD masters in Industrial Design Engineering (TU Delft) we see a growing diversity in students. In recent years, the number of international students has grown to more than a third. Besides nationalities we also see differences in prior education, socio-emotional aspects and competences. In one of the masters courses Advanced Embodiment Design (AED), students work in teams on a client-based design project for one semester (21 European Credits). The student teams are supervised by coaches on a weekly basis. In recent years we increasingly noticed that the differences in background can lead to complications within the various teams. Examples are communication confusion, frustration and sometimes interpersonal collisions. There is a growing gap between the team members on cognitive and socio-emotional aspects and their ability to deal with this constructively. Within our team of coaches, we therefore focus mainly on keeping teams functioning in a healthy way and to a lesser extent on content and project results. With this course we want to offer students the opportunity to experience and perform in a successful team, acknowledge every student input and experience a successful result. To implement this vision and support our student teams, we started out with a project-group tracking-system using key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs gave the group of coachs insights in the performance of their own student groups relative to that of other groups. With this tracking system we could quickly pinpoint troublesome groups and individuals, which were used to lead our discussions during weekly coach meetings. During our weekly meeting we only discussed troublesome groups and tried to come to applicable solutions which could be implemented immediately. The solutions were found in literature, experiences within our own coach team, and making use of external experts. This paper presents our findings on improving multi-diverse team-performance by close tracking of their performance. We will focus on three major aspects of our findings: measuring student projects performance during the course, our experience and dealings with diversity in student teams, and on how the collaborating coach-Team helped in maximizing student-Team performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2020
EditorsLyndon Buck, Erik Bohemia, Hilary Grierson
PublisherThe Design Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781912254101
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2020 - Herning, Denmark
Duration: 10 Sep 202011 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2020

Conference

Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2020
CountryDenmark
CityHerning
Period10/09/2011/09/20

Keywords

  • monitoring and coaching
  • multi-diverse student group
  • Team performance

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