Skip to Main Content
This paper surveys the recent developments and future research opportunities in computer supported cooperative work in design. This domain of interest has been variously conceptualized and described in different publications. There is a broader interpretation that considers the entirety of product lifecycle as a target domain and aims at a holistic optimization of all related engineering processes by connecting them through design. There exists a narrower interpretation that concentrates on the enhancement of the product conceptualization and creative design activities in distributed, multidisciplinary and volatile environments. The former is most frequently referred to as collaborative engineering and the latter as collaborative design. The paper concentrates on collaborative design and investigates the concepts, advancements and issues from: (i) philosophical and theoretical, (ii) technological and infrastructural, (iii) organizational and methodological, (iv) social and cultural, (v) cognitive and behavioral perspectives. Based on literature sources and the own work of the author in the last three decades, it provides a broadly-based analysis of the related concepts, knowledge, means, systems and concerns in current research, development and application with the objective to point towards future progression opportunities. The paper identifies a gradual shift in the research interest from the technological and procedural aspects to the socio-cultural, inter-personal and informational aspects. It proposes that collaborative design is eventually about people and that mobile, ubiquitous and smart technologies create many new opportunities for conducting collaborative design. Semantics, pragmatics and apobetics of inter-personal interaction and communication play a key role in the success of collaborative design.