1st Edition

Intercultural Collaboration by Design Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines Through Visual Thinking

By Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, Denielle Emans Copyright 2020
    308 Pages 72 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    308 Pages 72 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Intercultural Collaboration by Design introduces a framework for collaborating across cultures and learning to use multicultural perspectives to address pressing global issues.

    This handbook helps people work, learn, and teach across cultures. Through the activities highlighted in this book, virtual and intercultural teams will find a practical route for initiating and sustaining productive work across disciplinary and social barriers. Teams can craft a plan to achieve their goals by selecting the activities that best meet their needs and interests. First-person anecdotes from the authors demonstrate how the activities encourage teams to embrace diverse perspectives in order to create innovative solutions.

    With over 30 hands-on activities, this book will be of great interest to diverse teams from a variety of disciplines who want to enhance intercultural learning and co-working. Whether in the classroom or workplace, the activities are appropriate for a variety of collaboration contexts, without a need for background in art or design.






    1 Discover Work Styles: Building interpersonal relationships through visual and tangible approaches

    1.1 The Six Dimensions of intercultural teamwork: Collaborations and conceptions of community

    1.2 Teamthink Constellation: Putting the Six Dimensions to work

    Activity: Teamthink Constellation

    1.3 Success Sketches: Drawing a positive future for your team

    Activity: Success Sketch

    1.4 Shared Calendar: Tackling time differences together

    Activity: Shared Calendar

    1.5 Collaboration Agreement & Fourth Space: Guiding team communication

    a. Activity: Collaboration Agreement

    b. Activity: Fourth Space


    2 Understand Core Beliefs: Creating visuals helps in understanding values and biases

    2.1 Creating visuals helps in understanding values and biases

    2.2 Value Collage: Understanding personal and cultural values

    a. Activity: Value Discovery

    b. Activity: Value Collage

    2.3 Belief Brainstorm: Exploring facts, fakes, and feelings to confront bias

    a. Activity: Belief Brainstorm

    b. Activity: Affinity Diagram

    2.4 Personal & Group Icebergs: Diagramming cultural characteristics

    a. Activity: Personal Iceberg

    b. Activity: Group Iceberg

    2.5 Comparative Impression Maps: Visualizing an issue across cultures

    Activity: Comparative Impression Maps

    2.6 Deep Dive: Creating structured dialogue to go beneath the surface

    a. Activity: Deep Dive 

    b. Activity: Deeper Dive—share icebergs & impression maps


    3 Establish Trust: Using rich and lean media

    3.1 Storytelling using rich and lean media

    3.2 Picture Story Shuffle: Cultural moments in five frames

    Activity: Picture Story Shuffle

    3.3 Video Exchange: Simulating synchronous connections

    Activity: Video Exchange

    3.4 Digital Trail Trace: Deciphering personal narratives in online spaces

    Activity: Digital Trail Trace

    3.5 Visual Origin Story: Adventures in collaborative storytelling

    Activity: Visual Origin Story


    4 Assess Information: Learning from multisensory collective wisdom

    4.1 Learning from multisensory collective wisdom

    4.2 Focus Quest: Finding a topic through divergent and convergent approaches

    Activity: Focus Quest

    4.3 Perspective Exchange: Two sides of a topic

    a. Activity: Cultural & Geographic Perspective Exchange

    b. Activity: Topical Perspective Exchange

    c. Activity: Photo Juxtaposition Perspective Exchange

    4.4 Datastorming: Bringing information to life

    Activity: Datastorming

    4.5 Fictional Character Exchange: Explaining cultural nuances

    Activity: Fictional Character Exchange


    5 Decode Communication Styles: Exchanging constructive feedback through critique5.1 Exchanging constructive feedback through critique

    5.2 Practice Critique: Honing feedback skills as a first step

    Activity: Practice Critique

    5.3 Asynchronous Feedback: Lean media and sequenced approaches

    Activity: Asynchronous Feedback

    5.4 Synchronous Feedback: Real-time approaches with rich media

    Activity: Synchronous Feedback

    5.5 Outside Input: Learning from relevant external perspectives

    Activity: Outside Input

    5.6 Mindful Reflection: Writing and sketching for thoughtful individual analysis

    Activity: Mindful Reflection

    5.7 Circles of Understanding

    Activity: Circles of Understanding


    6 Design Shared Goals: Innovating together through creative projects

    6.1 Innovating together through creative projects

    How to use Chapter 6

    6.2 Project Generator & Creative Remix: Creating value through collective intercultural creativity

    a. Activity: Project Generator

    b. Activity: Creative Remix

    6.3 Goal & Role Tracker: Envisioning attainable, challenging, and specific team intentions

    a. Activity: Goal & Role Tracker, Part 1

    b. Activity: Goal & Role Tracker, Part 2

    6.4 Fairy Tale Mashup: Local stories to celebrate cultures

    Activity: Fairy Tale Mashup

     6.5 Collaborative Storyboard & Video Sketch: Building shared narratives

    a. Activity: Collaborative Storyboard & Script

    b. Activity: Collaborative Video Sketch

    6.6 Public Display: Celebrate outcomes with the wider community

    Activity: Public Display





    Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. She believes in integrating visual communication, interaction design, and service design with global and social responsibility. 

    Denielle J. Emans is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Qatar. She is passionate about collaboration, storytelling, and empowering teams to build strong relationships to fuel creative action. 

    Their ongoing research, which supports diverse international teams in addressing sustainability topics, has been recognized by the Design Incubation Teaching Awards. They have co-authored chapters in the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design, the Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research, and the forthcoming Collaboration in Design Education. 

    “This book is a much needed, practical guide for teams and organizations looking to collaborate across differences. The authors’ deep appreciation for diversity helps them deliver a research driven approach that I look forward to integrating into my own practice.”
    Dr. Tiffany Jana, Founder of the TMI Portfolio of companies and author of Overcoming Bias, Erasing Institutional Bias, The B Corp Handbook, 2nd edition, and Subtle Acts of Exclusion.


    "Whether your team is in the workplace or the classroom, Intercultural Collaboration by Design will empower you with design-based practices adapted for multidisciplinary use to build a world where people communicate across boundaries. The book’s activities will enhance creativity, intercultural awareness, and team focus."
    Robin Landa, Distinguished Professor, Michael Graves College of Kean University


    "This is an extraordinary book! I have never seen anything so helpful in overcoming intercultural challenges across members of work teams. It is full of wisdom and helpful exercises. It is creatively written and easy to read."
    Jeffrey S. Harrison, University Distinguished Educator, W. David Robbins Chair in Strategic Management, University of Richmond


    "I work across industry and academia with geographically and culturally diverse teams, and I can't wait to try the flexible tools and activities in this book. The Six Dimensions framework is already shaping how I think about guiding my students and colleagues through complex projects and team dynamics. The book is thoughtfully organized to give anyone the confidence to create welcoming collaborative environments. As our world becomes more globalized and yet more polarized, these are the skills we need to create a more inclusive and equitable world."
    Amy Bickerton, Design Researcher at Dropbox, Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts, Former Senior User Experience Designer at Amazon


    "I feel very fortunate to have experienced these methods firsthand as a student—and now, with remote work becoming the new norm, I’ve been armed with a diverse toolset that will continue to enrich the collaborative thread that connects teams who are spread all over the world."
    Jessica Cook, Designer