Working with an Alexa device led to less creative work and less communication between teammates. Teams working under a tight deadline used their Alexa device more than those with more relaxed times lines.
What they did
They asked 56 two-person teams to organize a creative sweet 16th birthday party with no limits on the budget. Half the teams had access to an Alexa device. They halved those two groups and gave one-half 15 minutes to complete a task and the other 30 minutes for the same task. After the teams were finished, they got two independent judges to rate the projects’ levels of creativity. They also looked at how the teammates interacted with one another as well as how they interacted with the Alexa device (in the teams where it was available).
What they found
The teams that had access to an Alexa device had fewer interactions between members than in the teams without. Teams on a tighter timeline (15 minutes instead of 30 minutes) comparatively used the Alexa device more often. Teams with the Alexa device also delivered a subjectively less creative project.
Creative industries should think about the impact of adding an Alexa device to their workplaces. It’s also worth considering that adding a “third person” around the table through an Alexa device takes a toll on interpersonal conversations. While they can have their merits, Alexa devices can also be crutches that negatively influence creative work.
Shaikh, S. J., & Cruz, I. (2019). ‘Alexa, Do You Know Anything?’The Impact of an Intelligent Assistant on Team Interactions and Creative Performance Under Time Scarcity. arXiv preprint arXiv:1912.12914. Full article.