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Creativity Bento Box: a physical resource pack to support interaction in virtual space

Schn�delbach, Holger; Coughlan, Tim; Kefalidou, Genovefa; McAuley, Derek; Meese, Rupert

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Holger Schn�delbach

Tim Coughlan

Genovefa Kefalidou

Derek McAuley

Rupert Meese


The Creativity Bento Box is a physical resource pack, designed to support casual social interaction and break taking in an intensive, computer-mediated social activity. It was developed within the Creativity Greenhouse project, which piloted a mechanism to create research proposals and distribute funding at a distance. This involved facilitated phases of collaboration and competition over multiple days of computer-mediated work, where participants communicate and interact through a virtual world. During the iterative development process, the lack of time for socializing, the intense focus on virtual resources, and a lack of time spent away from the screen were reported as negative issues in feedback from participants. This article reports on the development of the Creativity Bento Box and how it helped to address these issues. By providing physical resources that contrasted with the properties of the virtual world, it supported people to socialize and take breaks from their primary activity, allowed them to include physical space and artifacts in their interactions, and provoked moves away from the otherwise intense focus on the computer. The article reflects on the roles of the Bento Box as a gift, in bridging between physical and virtual contexts, its higher suitability during the earlier phases of ideation and group development, and its perception by participants as something “framed.” Through this, we highlight the underexplored potential of using physical, offline resources as a means to solve difficulties in distanced social interactions.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2016
Journal International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Print ISSN 1044-7318
Electronic ISSN 1532-7590
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 11
Keywords Group forming, Social interaction, Ideation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The Version of
Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 2015


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