Using Collaboration Patterns for Contextualizing Roles in Community Systems Design

On October 28, I presented my paper “Using Collaboration Patterns for Contextualizing Roles in Community Systems Design” at the Community Informatics Research Network  2010 Conference (CIRN 2010) in Prato, Italy. Here are the abstract of and link to the paper, as well as the presentation.

Abstract

Activation of collaborative communities is hampered by the communicative fragmentation that is at least partially caused by their distributed tool systems. We examine the role of domain, conversation, and functionality roles in modelling community activation. We show how collaboration patterns can be used to design appropriate socio-technical solutions.  These patterns contextualize the various types of roles by linking them to the (1) relevant usage context (2) communicative workflow stages and (3) functionality components across the tool system.

Presentation

Conversations in Context: A Twitter Case for Social Media Systems Design

On September 1, I gave the invited talk for the 5th AIS SIGPrag International Pragmatic Web Conference Track of the I-SEMANTICS 2010 conference in Graz, Austria. Here are the abstract of and link to the paper, as well as the presentation.

Abstract

Conversations are the lifeblood of collaborative communities. Social media like microblogging tool Twitter have great potential for supporting these conversations. However, just studying the role of these media from a tool perspective is not sufficient. To fully unlock their power, they need to examined from a sociotechnical perspective. We introduce a socio-technical context framework which can be used to analyze the role of systems of tools supporting goal-oriented conversations. Central to this framework is the communicative workflow loop, which is grounded in the Language/Action Perspective. We show how socio-technical conversation contexts can be used to match the communicative requirements of collaborative communities with enabling tool functionalities. This social media systems design process is illustrated with a case on Twitter.

Presentation:

Optimizing Social Software Design with Conceptual Graphs

Today, I gave a presentation “Optimizing Social Software Design with Conceptual Graphs” at LIRMM, Le Laboratoire d’Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier:

Abstract

Collaborative communities are complex and rapidly evolving socio-technical systems. The design of these systems includes the communal specification of communication and information requirements, as well as the selection, configuration, and linking of the software tools that best satisfy these requirements. Supporting the effective and efficient community-driven design of such complex and dynamic systems is not trivial.

To represent and reason about the system design specifications we use conceptual graph theory. We do so because the knowledge representation language of choice must be rich enough to allow for the efficient expression of complex definitions. Also, since design specifications derive from complex real world domains and community members themselves are actively involved in specification processes, a close mapping of knowledge definitions to natural language expressions and vice versa is useful. Finally, the representation language must be sufficiently formal and constrained for powerful knowledge operations to be constructed. Conceptual graph theory has all of these properties.

We explore how conceptual graphs can be used to:

1. model the core elements of such socio-technical systems and their design processes.

2. specify communication and information requirements and match these with social software functionalities.

We illustrate these design processes with examples from a realistic scenario on building a knowledge-driven topic community on climate change.

Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems

Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems

090316_soctech_research_handbook1ISBN: 978-1-60566-264-0; 1,034 pp; March 2009

Published under the imprint Information Science Reference (formerly Idea Group Reference)

http://www.igi-global.com/reference/details.asp?ID=33019

Edited by: Brian Whitworth, Massey University, New Zealand and Aldo de Moor, CommunitySense, The Netherlands

DESCRIPTION

The focus of this book is not how to make technology more efficient, nor even how technology harms or helps society, but rather how to successfully combine society and technology into socio-technical performance.

The Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems provides a state-of-the-art summary of knowledge in this evolving, multi-disciplinary field distinctive in its variety of international authors’ perspectives, depth and breadth of scholarship, and combination of practical and theoretical views. This noteworthy Handbook of Research extends a useful collection for anyone interested in modern socio-technincal systems where knowledge of social principles can mean the difference between success and failure.

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“Brian Whitworth and Aldo de Moor have gathered valuable material from an international panel of experts who guide readers through the analysis, design and implementation of socio-technical systems. It will be widely useful in defining issues in engineering, computing, management, organization, government policy, and ethics. The practical guidance and fresh theories can inspire a new generation of designers and researchers to catalyze even more potent forms of human collaboration.”

– Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland, USA

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TOPICS COVERED

  • Agent-based collaborative e-learning
  • Anti-social networking
  • Community collective efficacy
  • Community network research and design
  • Cyber security
  • Cybercrime variants
  • Integrated teams in virtual environments
  • Organizational and software structure
  • Participation in online communities
  • Remote participation in research
  • Social derivation of technical systems
  • Social networking systems
  • Social study of computer science
  • Social support for online learning
  • Socio-technical communities
  • Socio-technical design
  • Virtual collaboration and community
  • Workflows in software development

For more information about Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking, you can view the title information sheet at http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/pdf/33019.pdf.
To view the Table of Contents and a complete list of contributors online go to http://www.igi-global.com/reference/details.asp?ID=33019&v=tableOfContents
You can also view the first chapter of the publication at http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/excerpts/33019.pdf

Understanding Design: 150 Reflections on Being a Designer

Understanding DesignI recently finished reading “Understanding Design: 150 Reflections on Being a Designer“, by Kees Dorst. It’s a delightful book with 150 single page stories that you can’t stop reading. The stories have been organized in four main themes (Inside Design, About Design, Being a Designer, Around Design), and cover everything from the philosophy and morality of design to very practical guidelines on how to do and teach design. A must for everybody remotely interested in this complex but so intriguing field.

Design for development

Richard Heeks and Bill McIver sent useful references in response to my post on the Another Perspective on Design-symposium.


[Richard Heeks]

Just to follow Aldo’s original point, the whole area of “design for development” seems to be a growing one. Examples are the work of The Cardiff Group: http://www.thecardiffgroup.org.uk/ (which helps organise the Development Studies Association’s Design and Development group: http://www.devstud.org.uk/studygroups/design.htm), and Design for Development: http://www.designfordevelopment.org/. Up-and-coming are the outputs from the BGDD project – http://www.bgdd.org/Wiki.jsp – which is approaching the issue from a computing/interface design-for-development perspective.There are also a lot of organisations working more to help multinationals understand and design for emerging markets, e.g. CKS in Bangalore – http://www.cks.in/They, in turn, have been involved in one of the main design-and-development functions, the Doors of Perception events: http://www.doorsofperception.com/

Prof. Richard Heeks
Development Informatics Group
IDPM, SED, University of Manchester
Web: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/idpm/dig

[Bill McIver]

See also:Low Technologies, High Aims

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Published: September 11, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/science/11mit.html?scp=5&sq=olin+college&st=nyt

Matriculation
Re-engineering Engineering

By JOHN SCHWARTZ

Published: September 30, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/magazine/30OLIN-t.html?scp=1&sq=olin+college&st=nyt

Outside the Box
By LISA GUERNSEY
Published: November 4, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/education/edlife/nicheintro.html?scp=2&sq=olin+college&st=nyt

The inaugural International Development Design Summit (IDDS) at MIT on 16 July – 10 August 2007
http://www.iddsummit.org/

Bill McIver,
Research Officer
People-Centred Technologies
Institute for Information Technology
National Research Council Canada

http://iit-iti.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/personnel/mciver_william_e.html

Another Perspective on Design – Symposium

Yesterday, an interesting symposium was organised in Breda by COLIN (Creative Organisations Linked in Networks) , named “Another Perspective on Design“. Here are some notes I took during the presentations. They are not comprehensive, but should capture some of the highlights.


Speaker: Mary-Ann Schreurs, chairwoman of the working group Design of the Eindhoven city council

  • Design has enormous economic potential
    • One reason DAF trucks has become so succcessful is because of their truck cabins having been optimally designed for their human users.
  • Designers bring together ideas from all disciplines, combine them into a form. Design is leading.
  • Governments need to create the necessary conditions for design to have its effect.
    • For example, never enough workspaces for starting entrepreneurs!
  • Innovation networks necessary
    • Alone it cannot be done, collaboration between many stakeholders is essential. Only organize those who are really willing.
    • Companies are proud of their products because they mean something to people
      • No longer make products just to own, but products that add meaning to people’s lives.
      • For example, children in hospital get badge, when moving around the kids see their favorite themes. projected on the walls, e.g. space travel. Result: faster recovery time.

    “Designer is a carrier of societal change”

  • A design meeting was organized for city politicians: what’s in design for them? Some examples:
    • Participation is the magic word. One approach that has been shown to work in Eindhoven is the “virtual neighbourhood”.
    • Software for 3D design. Use it to show the effects of construction choices, costs automatically calculated. Design of houses much more tailored to needs of citizens, they co-own the design.
    • Designers living with homeless found out that they do not use the designed shelters if their dogs are not allowed entry, as these to them are “their family”.
    • The city council now better understands the power of design for the city. A range of aspects needs to be taken into account:
      • Esthetics
      • Economics
      • Societal
      • “Freedom”
        • Large companies often constrain the creative process too much. Technology should not lead but serve us. Make sure to liberate creative souls to work in the way they want/need.
  • Eindhoven is going to change from a city that creates technology to a city where you experience it.

Speaker: Conny Bakker, director of consultancy company Info-Eco, co-author of ‘Trespassers, inspirations for eco-efficient design’ and author of ‘Sustainable Technological Development’.

  • Info-Eco: helps designers and entrepreneurs choose the most appropriate eco-design strategies for their products and services.
  • For example: “peak oil”, oil shortage very soon becoming major problem
  • Design can help to achieve hyperefficiency
    • e.g. Volkswagen has prototype car using 1 liter of gas per 100 km. Will be on the market in 2010
    • Zero emission house using an advanced pipe system.
    • Airquarium: inflatable building, can be transported easily, using air as construction material
    • XO laptop (One Laptop Per Child). Many efficiency features, needs only 2 W! Rwanda and Uruguay have already bought it, among other nations, positive experiences reported from the field.
    • Zooop electrical car can reach 180 km/h, what can we learn for mass car design?
    • Nokia Eco Sensor Cell Phone: is charged by body movements of user

Speaker: Thera van Osch, economist and chairwoman of the Association for the Care Economy

  • From knowledge economy to experience economy, in which empathy is important
  • Does the economy determine design, or can design change the economy?
  • Increasing monetization of everything, including design! Not good, inhibiting real innovation!
  • We need to develop a paradigm of the caring human being
  • Achieve balance between market economy and care economy
  • Can sustainable design contribute to the economy in economical , social, and ecological sense?

Speaker: Alex van Dierendonck, O2 Nederland

  • User interface design & sustainability: involve the user
  • O2: growing network of designers together involved in developing innovative sustainable solutions. O2 Netherlands, the Dutch branch, has been founded in 1993.
  • Examples of innovative solutions
  • Focus on products doesn’t show the complex processes needed to get there!
  • Together doing design sessions is an interesting added value of such a design network.

Speakers: Stella van Himbergen, programme manager DDiD and Robert Nijhout, graphics design specialist who volunteered for the FairMail project

  • DDiD: Dutch Design in Development, couples Dutch designers to small producers in developing countries.
  • Stimulate sustainable economic development in developing countries.
  • DDiD supports the whole process, is a matchmaker, works towards realizing fairer social and environmental values.
  • Aims for unique product development
  • Example project: FairMail, Peru
    • Municipal waste dump. Many people living and working there in very poor and unhealthy conditions.
    • FairMail organizes photography courses to the kids, by volunteers from all over the world. The photos are sold as postcards (“cards with perspective”) in Peru and the North, leading to sustainable income for the locals. Revenues are split by local community and the individual photographers. Part of the revenues are used for education and health insurance funds for the whole community. The good thing is it stimulates the economy of everybody, from the individual, through the community to the local economy.
    • DDiD provided templates and training (in, for instance, Indesign publishing software) to allow them to produce independently. E.g. photo processing training for the FairMail kids.
    • Good example of “social design” by providing the community with the means to themselves improve their own future.
    • Issue: how to “train the trainers” in order to scale up the impact of such programmes?