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Collaborative problem-solving, collaboration formats and creativity: a field study of video game design by professionals

Abstract : This Phd thesis concerns group creativity in a musical video game design. Our aim is to identify and characterize collaborative and design processes, and more specifically those involved in the generation of creative solutions. At a second level, our aim is to characterize creative solutions. During an ethnographic study in a video game studio, collaborative meetings were video-recorded and interviews combined with a questionnaire were conducted. With these data, we adopted an original approach that crosses two focuses of creativity; the processes focus with a third-person perspective, i.e. our analyses as observer, and the products focus with a first-person perspective, i.e. perspective of designers themselves. To analyze processes, we combined three approaches applied on corpora of video-recorded excerpts. First, a content approach aimed to highlight basic activities, and problems and solutions. Second, an interactional approach aimed to stress and characterize collaboration formats, i.e. recurrent adjacent pairs of collaborative design activities. Third, a longitudinal approach was conduct to underline the temporality of collaborative problem solving in meetings, more precisely the socio-cognitive design processes, i.e. design processes distributed amongst the designers and participants, and collaboration formats. To consider products, solutions were evaluated by the designers themselves on the basis of two creativity dimensions, i.e. novelty and feasibility. Thus, the most creative solutions were distinguished from the less creative ones. In addition, justifications of the evaluation given by the designers were invested further to characterize creative solutions. Lastly, our main research aim was reached by crossing processes and products. This crossing aimed to highlight and characterize the specific collaboration formats and design processes involved in the generation of creative solutions. This original approach stressed three multi-functional collaboration formats: (1) the directive formats, i.e. specific forms of collaborative design activities serving to trigger evolution and definition of the design spaces -problems and solutions-; (2) the relational formats, i.e. construction of relations between a design idea under discussion with other ones -reified or not- within or outside the design project; (3) the representational formats, i.e. co-construction of representations of a design idea under discussion in order to develop it through multiple points of view. In a meeting temporality, we highlighted that problem framing, analogical reasoning and the directive formats were at the beginning, and the combination at the end. This highlighted a meeting temporality that starts with convergence on problem and then, divergence in the solution space is carried on. Regarding the products, we stressed both characteristics of creative products and of creative design processes. Our results underlined several characteristics as well as design processes from the literature and two original ones, i.e. 'ownership' and 'deepening'. The crossing of the processes and creative products highlighted that the relational formats as well as the analogical reasoning process are involved in the generation of creative solutions.
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Hébert Anne-Marie. Collaborative problem-solving, collaboration formats and creativity: a field study of video game design by professionals. Psychology. Ecole nationale supérieure des telecommunications - ENST, 2012. English. ⟨tel-00770994⟩

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