15:00 - 16:40
Session: S12
[Critical Positions] + Design
Group Focus Demystified: Learnings from Comparing O%ine & Online Co-design Workshops
Hybrid Co-Design; Group Focus; Team Dynamics; Team Management; Interdisciplinary
Zixuan WANG, Paola Maria TRAPANI

Background: In the last 30 years, co-design has seen exponential diffusion, especially in research applied to complex socio-technical transitions that require the participation of many actors heterogeneous regarding the level of creativity, power, and background. Previous studies usually focus on the tools and methods for inclusive participation, whereas the influence of the micro-dynamics and inner changes of the participants tend to be overlooked. Yet spontaneous and apparently innocuous attitudes, if not promptly detected and addressed, can have a snow ball effect that compromises the workshop’s outcome. Aim: The study aims to define the challenges of coordinating the group focus in a co-design workshop and define potential ways to assess its level, making a comparison between online and offline versions of the same activities. Methods: Interpretive concepts and theories describing individual transformation processes in the context of small groups are taken from relevant literature in management development and applied psychology. Group focus challenges and enablers, both online and offline, are identified through first-hand observation and qualitative note-coding. Results: A light conceptual framework suggests valuable strategies and tactics to prepare the group focus before starting the activities, kindle it from the outset, and keep it under control, re-focusing every time it tends to diverge.