Design is usually the product of individuals or close-knit teams, and is therefore dependent upon expertise, a scarce commodity. Can design emerge from the aggregated ideas of a set of individuals of varied expertise, the crowd? The results of several experiments will be presented in which participants generate diagrammatic solutions to systems design problems. These solutions are combined to produce consensus designs, as well as maps of the solution space. The results suggest that at least some aspects of design can be crowdsourced. Thus, it may be possible to approach large-scale social and technical problems in new ways, peer producing design.
Jeffrey V. Nickerson is an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Decision Technologies at the Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology. He is the principal investigator on two NSF-funded projects studying visualization and creativity in the design of software-intensive systems. His research interests include social network analysis and computational design. Prior to joining Stevens, he was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he consulted on emerging technologies. He holds an MFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design, and a PhD in Computer Science from New York University.