Design for collaboration

Lotus is a connected set of devices that encourage small collaborations or work-related interactions among members of the co-working space. It aims is to foster cross-pollination of knowledge and pro-social behavior.
Company client
Individual Master project
5 months
8 / 10


pro-social behavior

The project assignment was to create a meaningful design intervention that effectively introduces a desired pro-social interaction within a chosen context.

I worked in collaboration with Seats2Meet with the aim of encouraging collaboration and foster knowledge exchanges in their co-working spaces.

I crafted this design goal in an exploratory way. Starting from the analysis of coworker's needs, concerns and practices I framed the key problems and define the right scope for my design intervention.

Field research



The visualization bellow illustrates a comparison of the 6 co-working spaces I visited during the field research. I chose to partner up with Seats2Meet because it was the space with most frequent social and work-related interactions.
Coworking spaces

Concept direction

Time exchange

The Time-exchange concept, illustrated bellow, is a materialization of the findings of the context, user and literature research.

I iterated on this idea through the next design explorations. Following a combined design and research approach I used fast prototypes in combination of generative research methods to gain insight into how to enable the desired pro-social behavior.
research findings

research Through Design

User Testing

I conducted three Research Through Design test iterations that involved a total of 56 participants, including students from my faculty and coworkers from Seats2meet. The cubes were chosen as prototypes because they were the cheapest and quickest way to represent stored time and exchange it.
16 students
Class group
13 flex-workers
27 students
Design faculty
Ensures reciprocity
Encourages to help
Asking becomes more natural
Increases awareness
Helping is rewarding
Better for creative professionals
When someone gives me help I feel that I have to pass it to somebody else.
The cubes make me perceive the help in a physical way, which encourages me to give them away
It was useful, approaching others was easier.
The received help is materialized using the cubes. It becomes clearer how much help you have received
Sharing knowledge makes me excited and motivated about my work.
If somebody else looks at your project you get different insides. It's very useful.

Qualitative analysis

Qualitative analysis

I gathered a lot of qualitative data from the booklets, the interactions in the WhatsApp group and the following interviews with participants. By analyzing the data, I was able to answer the key research question:

How does materializing time facilitate giving or asking for help?
This insights were translated into the following design specifications:
Self-explainatory meaning
Low threshold to interact
Subtle limits of the accumulated time
Meaningful interaction
Clear visualization
Visualize the healthiness of the community

The Result


LOTUS is a connected device that stores the duration of the help received in form of light intensity. It works as a reminder of the amount of help given or received by the user, highlighting its value and encouraging him or her to collaborate with others.
Coworking spaces
© 2020 Pablo Ferreras