Design Relay Challenge

This year ECSCW is organising its very first design challenge! It will require a collaborative effort among groups across time zones around the world in a 24-hours period. The aim for the groups in the time they have is to respond creatively and collaboratively to a specific design brief which the chairs will release on the day. We are looking for a creative solution using creative practice and tools.

The Design Relay Challenge will see groups composed of three teams, each team having three people working together (Fig. 1). The teams of one group will be spread around the world with around 8-hour time zone range among them.

Fig. 1 Structure of groups and teams.

At the start of the design challenge each group will have 2 hours together to plan their collaborative strategy and the brief; then the clock starts ticking. The groups are encouraged to apply a user-centred design approach, but are free to organise their work in any way that suits them. The team can use any tool they want as long as the work is documented!

Each of the three teams in turn has 7 hours to progress the design, and will then have to record its progress and pass the work on to the next team in a different time zone. In the last hour of the challenge the whole group comes together to prepare their submission for judging.

The group’s proposed solution to the challenge should include:

  • A design solution in response to the brief set, explained and prototyped.
  • A 3-minute group video made by composing the 1-minute video of each team on how the work has progressed.
  • Documentation of tools used to collaborate in the challenge  

The proposed design solution from each group will be judged by an international panel that will take into account both the solution itself as well as the collaborative process used in the challenge.

The Design Relay Challenge will take place on July 12-13, 2017. Results of the judging process and a showcase of all the groups’ work will feature in the program of ECSCW 2017 in Sheffield.

We would also ask that the individuals taking part in the design challenge submit 20 second “talking head” video reflecting on the cooperative practices of the team and the experience of the challenge overall. The video will be shown at the conference to inspire attendees on the use of collaborative practice and tools.

Groups will have the opportunity to present at the ECSCW 2017 conference in Sheffield (in person or remotely) and the winner will be announced thereafter. Prototypes and videos generated by the groups will be on display throughout the conference. At the end of the challenge,  groups will also be able to write up their experience as 4-page papers to be published in the EUSSET Digital Library as ECSCW 2017 Adjunct Proceedings.

Why enter?

This is an opportunity for researchers in CSCW and collaborative design to experiment with challenges related to co-design and co-creation on an extra-large scale including cross-cultural communication, time and expectation management, tools compatibility and expertise harmonisation.

In participating in the challenge, members should expect to make connections, learn new skills, use new tools and have the opportunity to reflect on the overall process of world-wide design and enhance the member’s’ own practice.

How do you apply?

We invite multidisciplinary groups, teams or individuals to register their interest

If needed, the chairs will then organise full group out of teams and/or individuals.

Expressions of interest can be submitted from the 22nd of November 2016 to the 17th April 2017. Please follow the link to submit your expression of interest:

You can submit your expression of interest as an individual, as a team of 3 people, or as a group made of three teams. You will be asked to provide information on your location, background, reasons for participating in the challenge, and the facilities you have available to aid the challenge. If you apply as an individual, the Design Relay Challenge chairs will do their best to add you to a team.

Each team will need a mentor / facilitator, possibly a senior designer (if you cannot find one get in touch and the chairs will help with this).

Challenge Timeline and Important Dates

Registration of expressions of interest until 17th April 2017

18th June 2017 Feedback on groups.

2nd – 9th July 2017 Design relay challenge briefing documents sent to groups.

12th – 13th July 2017 Design relay challenge around the world

30th July 2017 4-pages camera ready papers to be submitted by each group for publication on the EUSSET Digital Library

15th August 2017 Prototypes to be received in Sheffield

28th August – 1st September 2017 Presentations at ECSCW 2017 conference in Sheffield


We hope that you can join us for the Design Relay Challenge; if you have any questions please contact the ECSCW 2017 Design Relay Challenge Chairs Daniela Petrelli (d.petrelli[AT] and Nick Dulake (n.dulake[AT]