Breaks with a Purpose

A Three-Dimension Framework to Map Break Characteristics and Their Effects on Design Thinking Teams
  • Franziska Dobrigkeit
  • Danielly de Paula
  • Matthias Uflacker
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


Breaks are a fundamental part of our work life and have been studied in various settings before. This article investigates their importance and impact within design thinking teams. The research is based on a series of interviews conducted with design thinking team members and coaches in combination with observations of their behavior during and after breaks at the HPI School of Design Thinking. Our analysis shows that breaks in this setting can be characterized by three dimensions: the activity level (active or passive), a social aspect (group or individual) and the distance to the project (related or unrelated to the project). Furthermore, we discuss the effect of these different characteristics on the team and relate our findings to research from other areas.


Design thinking User-centered design Breaks Team work 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franziska Dobrigkeit
    • 1
  • Danielly de Paula
    • 1
  • Matthias Uflacker
    • 1
  1. 1.Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems EngineeringPotsdamGermany

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