, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 221–232 | Cite as

The WALL: participatory design workspace in support of creativity, collaboration, and socialization

  • Renate FruchterEmail author
  • Petra Bosch-Sijtsema
Open Forum


A key challenge faced by organizations is to provide project teams with workspaces, information, and collaboration technologies that fosters creativity and high-performance team productivity. This requires understanding the relation between and impacts of (1) workspace, (2) activity and content that is created, and (3) social, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of work. This paper describes an exploratory study of everyday activities in the context of knowledge work in a shared workspace used by a high-tech global design team that explores future products. The study formalizes key elements for productive knowledge work as a function of tasks, context, and team. It identifies enablers, hindrances, and requirements for physical, virtual, and social work environments. The study identified, through semi-structured interviews, surveys, and on-site shadowing, a key workspace component that facilitates dynamic participation of all team members. This workspace component is a wall used as a large, public, physical display surface for project content (the WALL). The WALL acts as a mediator for individual reflection-in-action and team reflection-in-interaction. It serves as “social glue” both between individuals and between geographically distributed subgroups.


Global team Participatory design workspace Collaboration 



This study is part of the Stanford University–Aalto University School of Science and Technology research project ProWork, sponsored by TEKES, corporate partners, and the PBL Laboratory at Stanford University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Project Based Learning Laboratory (PBL Lab)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.BIT: Work Psychology and LeadershipAalto UniversityEspooFinland

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