The research reported in the dissertation is aimed at reviewing, developing and testing models of information processing and interactions during team conceptual design activities. A state-transition-based theoretical and mathematical models were used to experimentally investigate patterns of design operations during two types of team design activities – ideation and concept review – as well as two types of engineering design projects – adaptive and innovative. Design operations have been defined as fine-grain acts of analysis, synthesis and evaluation that teams perform to explore the content of both the problem and the solution space. The results of protocol analysis and computational simulation studies are aligned with the current understanding of designing of teams. Moreover, the results indicate that the developed models can be used to identify, analyse and simulate common information processing patterns in team conceptual design activity, as well as patterns distinctive for specific working processes.
The scientific contribution of the dissertation includes the development of the theoretical framework of information processing during team activities in development of technical systems, the development of the mathematical model and the associated computational tool for simulating team activity, as well as the original means of visualising proportions and patterns of transitions between design operations.