Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: Digital transformation changes collaboration processes, particularly in rapidly digitalizing countries like ASEAN states. Co-creation and innovation processes become increasingly flexible and time and location independent. But virtual collaboration faces context-specific challenges like technical problems, lack of social presence, and ambiguous attitudes towards autonomy and accountability. Therefore, this study addresses two research questions to contribute to designing a creative virtual environment: First, which Design Principles (DPs) should be prioritized in designing a user-centered creative virtual environment? Second, which Design Features (DFs) effectively implement the DPs in creative virtual collaboration from a user perspective?

Method: A user-centered Design Science Research approach was chosen to identify, implement and evaluate DPs and DFs. DPs were derived from theories on creativity drivers in five areas: functionality, process, mood, meaning, and collaboration. The DPs were implemented in a virtual design thinking workshop at a German international university. A qualitative thematic analysis evaluated user feedback from 38 international students from Asia, Africa, America, and Europe.

Results: Insights from user feedback indicate that seven DPs should be prioritized and effectively implemented in a virtual environment for creative collaboration: (1) Provide rich, appropriate resources to inspire creative thinking; (2) Technical problems and connectivity issues must be anticipated and mitigated; (3) The environment must foster social presence and interaction, and (4) effective communication and visualization; (5) Methods and technologies must be adapted to the creative process and individual needs; (6) The group work benefits from structured but flexible tasks and time management support; (7) Provide space for individual work that allows autonomy and solitary contemplation.

Conclusion: A tailored setup that adapts to context-specific challenges distinct from the on-site collaboration is necessary to facilitate creative virtual collaboration. The study results apply and expand current theories on technology utilization and inform the practical design of a virtual environment for creative collaboration.