Inter-disciplinary study of team-work during design for social innovation projects

Vyas, Pratik (2017) Inter-disciplinary study of team-work during design for social innovation projects. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The rising demand of teamwork during Design for Social Innovation (DfSI) projects has created a need for professional development to be able to work cordially within teams. Traditionally, reflective practices have been considered most effective for the development of professional practice in the field of Design. However, enactive cognitive science points to the practice of Awareness-based Meditative Techniques (AbMT) as an alternate way for such development. Such AbMTs have been extensively studied by different disciplines. This research borrows from:
• Social science and positive psychology perspectives, where the act of becoming aware has been associated with an inner value system that guides behaviour. Theoretical perspective from many authors from various backgrounds in AbMT research have been reviewed to propose a model of inner values which could affect teamwork during DfSI project as well as be influenced positively by the practice of AbMT intervention.
• A physiological perspective, to measure Heart Rate Variability (HRV) as an indicator of the physical stress which is known to e reduced by AbMT due to an improve ability to deal with such stress.
• A psychological perspective, using the Mindful attention and awareness scale (MAAS) questionnaire for quantitative research on the practice of AbMT intervention by participants.

Taking a post-positivist stance, this research focuses on creating a depth of information utilising these inter-disciplinary methods. Therefore, three teams working on three similar social innovation projects have been studied for eight weeks- one team populated with all meditators, another with all non-meditators and a third team with both. Analysis of reflections by team members on their own teamwork led to conclusion that- AbMT intervention could lead to improved teamwork during a DfSI project, especially with regard to the responsibilities perceived as the leadership of the team. This is because the meditators in this research reflected that, because of AbMT intervention they could
• share responsibilities which they perceived as pertaining to leadership of their team not only with other members of their team but also with the wider community of stakeholders,
• prioritise reflective action over unproductive debates for the better functioning of the team rather than satisfaction of own ego and
• change their perception from ‘goal oriented’ to ‘people oriented’ approach.

Further it was observed that, teams with meditators could use ‘framing’ and ‘reflecting’ activities to work in multi-disciplinary setting of their team and utilise strength of knowledge of their team. It was also observed that teams with meditators got overly focused on social innovation aspects while working with the community of stakeholders and users, and the team temporarily lost focus of financial viability until the client (sponsor) helped the team to regain their focus. However, the relationship between such findings and the effect of AbMT intervention could not be conclusively asserted, though the intervention is one of the key influences on the teams during their DfSI projects.

Thus, the key contributions to knowledge from this research are: the model of inner values, the development of the inter-disciplinary hybrid research methodology and evidence of the positive influences that AbMT intervention can have on the teamwork during DfSI projects.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: W200 Design studies
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 15:15
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:47

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