The study investigates the behaviour of distributed teams that collaborate on complex design tasks and communicate by means of videoconferencing. A collaborative design approach is advocated and supported by a specific Q-tool. The main conclusion is that not technology is the most obstrusive factor for the success of virtual teams, but the percieved distance. Distributed team members have the potential to engage in the spirit of collaboration. When support is directed to trigger this spirit, barriers for collaborative learning and shared understanding can be removed.