Digital Futures 2012 – Day 1

Digital Futures 2012

Tweeting Note: I’ve stopped tweeting during the papers as there is a screen underneath the speakers showing all of the #de2012 hashtag tweets, which I’m finding really distracting. So I’m afraid no more tweets from me during the papers, but I’ll try to tweet in the breaks, and will blog instead.

Tuesday 23rd October 2012

#de2012

These are my scruffy notes from the first day at DE2012. I haven’t blogged the talks in detail, as all of the papers are available on the http://de2012.org website, so you can read them there. What follows is merely my own notes on the parts of the conference that I have found most useful.

Keynote: Edward Cutrell: Innovating in India: Disruptive Technology for the Developing World

Edward Cutrell (@edcutrell) of Microsoft Research India, gave an interesting talk about some of the projects that the organisation has been involved in. I live tweeted from this one, so have copied the tweets in below:

@edcutrell of #microsoftresearchindia at #de2012 telling about evaluating prototypes for expanding communities and then scaling with orgs.
@edcutrell at #de2012: We go from technology to people then back to technology again. #CGNetSwara for #citizenjournalism sounds v. cool.
@edcutrell at #de2012. Alternative to #onelaptoponechild. Have multiple pointers for multiple users for one pc. For collaborative learning.
@edcutrell of #microsoftresearchindia at #de2012. Look up #MultiPoint for info on project. Continuum of sharing: i.e. split screens.
@edcutrell at #de2012 now talking about micro finance self help groups in india. Creating digital records without moving away from paper.
@edcutrell #de2012 Trialled mapping a standardised form onto a tablet/digital slate. Uses audio validation. Improved accuracy & efficiency.
@edcutrell #de2012 Actually audio output proved very popular; Particularly for illiterate members. Paper copy still important bec tangible.
@edcutrell at #de2012 But slates are expensive… Cue Android phones.
@edcutrell #de2012 #CGNetSwara now: “Voice is the most important thing in the developing works right now.” Mobile internet not that common.
@edcutrell #de2012: How do you manage communicating via system where language literacy’s so mixed? 25% no literacy 25% Eng. 25% Other lang.
@edcutrell #de2012 A voice-based wiki for citizen journalism. Great oral histories! Transcribed online. But users don’t have web access.
@edcutrell #de2012 So I wonder does this voice wiki have a use for inadvertent political activism?
@edcutrell #de2012 Find this citizen journalism project: http://cgnetswara.org  Do you give people a voice if they can’t access the platform?
@edcutrell at #de2012: #ivrjunction is the platform for the system for citizen journalism. They’re looking for partners!
@edcutrell #de2012 Q&A now. On economic bus. models: Cutrell says there is no resistance to new tech. But additional work not appreciated.
@edcutrell #de2012 On justifying to stakeholders why R&D should happen. Unanticipated devs of course!
Ditto! MT:@PaulWatsonNcl: #de2012 Enjoyed @EdCutrell talk on MSR India.Exploiting low-tech solns, integrating w. current customs & practice

Session 1B: Tales of Engagement

Maria Angela Ferrario (Jon Whittle, Erinma Ochu, Jen Southern, Ruth McNally): Beyond Research in the Wild: Citizen-Led Research as a Model for Innovation in the Digital Economy

The #CATALYSTAS

Team use PROTEE project management approach.

Sprint teams has same core panel members, but bring in others from the wider #CATALYSTAS network. Impressive NodesXL visualisation of the network on Twitter.

The team ask for submissions from organisations who would like a Sprint event to create something that is easy to make but deals with a difficult issue. Organisations do not need to submit a complication proposal, only a paragraph is needed. The panel selects a project to carry out. The team have completed seven projects, only one wasn’t suggested by this method.

Patchworks with Signposts

Example or an organisation supporting homeless people in Lancaster, called Signposts.

The project used RFIDs and Thermo Mini Printer to create a printer of timetables for visitors to Signposts.

Find it

The project is extended very soon in MOSI, Manchester in the form of a treasure hunt using RFID tags that explores the difficulties in locating resources that homeless people encounter. Look on the MOSI website for ‘#Pat Goes Wild’. See also #Patchworks

@catalystproj

http://catalystproject.org.uk/

Marianne Dee on Tales of Technology

@SiDEResearch – has drop in centre in Dundee. With a focus on access to technology. Has a research pool of 800 users and 40 organisations to take part in research. Great for user perspectives.

The Tales of Technology project collected positive stories about use of technologies. The stories were recorded from a call out to all 800 users via email and newsletter.  Many responded by email, some by post. 80 respondents. Many felt that their use of technologies was not notable, but it became clear during the recorded interviews that there were lots of unexpected brilliant positive stories.

Marianne told two great stories. Adam was interested in genealogy so searched for people who shared his surname through the internet and then emailed them all. Over a period of time he communicated with relations in lots of different countries and then via email invited 70 people to Scotland to visit their ancestral home. The visitors had a big impact on the local economy.

Marianne also told a great story about a lady who lost her husband who left a large collection of books. She decided to sell the books on Amazon (having decided that eBay was too complicated to use). Following her success, she started to buy books in secondhand and charity shops to sell through Amazon. She has never bought a single thing on Amazon, but has sold thousands of books.

The videos have been transcribed and have subtitles.

Questions to consider

How does the project fit into social mobility?

Access to community groups?

Is there a model here for sharing stories and for giving training to people for using technologies?

Favourite Idea

The stories will be linked to information about the technologies mentioned in the videos, therefore providing a way to join up technologies with user experiences.

Digital Storytelling Model – and how to craft these.

Find it

They’re on YouTube, and then project has a website currently at: http://tinyurl.com/talesoftechnology/ But soon to be at http://talesoftechnology.co.uk

#talesoftech

Olga Fernholz: Innovation for Today While Innovating for Tomorrow. Perspectives on Building Ambidextrous Organisation

HORIZON, Nottingham.

Innovative Management

Olga talked about one of her case studies: Ordnance Survey. Olga interviewed 5 managers at OS, interested in the Agency of Leaders.

Innovative Ambidexterity:

Exploitation Exploration
Products Processes
Manipulating existing technologies/skills Shifting to new technologies/skills
OSMasterMapOSVectorMap District Linked Data Web – GeoVationOpen Data

Favourite Idea

Are exploitation and exploration mutually exclusive?

Connected Digital Economy Catapult Information Session

I attended the lunchtime briefing on the DE catapult for Connected Digital Economy. It was really interesting to hear about this scheme. I haven’t written notes as I found this pretty comprehensive record of the scheme elsewhere: https://connect.innovateuk.org/c/document_library/get_file?p_l_id=6593370&folderId=9473587&name=DLFE-103319.pdf

Workshop 5 (WS5): Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in the Digital Economy

Stephann Makri: Storytelling in Research

Identifying serendipity through storytelling. Carried out critical incident interviews as storytelling for data collection.

Interviewing techniques for conversational approaches to encouraging storytelling.  Stephann would summarise the story, email it to the participant, who could amend the record if they chose to do so.

How do we summarise? This is the data analysis part. By identifying patterns in the circumstances:

  1. Unexpected circumstances
  2. Insight (lightbulb moment)
  3. Valuable and unanticipated outcome

Presenting data: Multiple options: YouTube stories, narrated stories, illustrated stories, radio stories, poster stories. And finally, exploiting findings through drama.

Favourite Idea

Reflecting on stories, to reveal a metalayer on serendipity as a phenomenon.

Find it

See http://youtube.com/serendipiTV

http://serendipitystories.net/

http://serena.ac.uk/

Ruth Aylett

Heriott Watt University & SAGE

Persuasion: education can be about attitudes and behaviour as well as knowledge.  In schools, this takes the form of PSHE. In adults, this could be education of health.

Storytelling as a narrative loop. The loop is important. Linking events emotionally.

World state changes, causes Actions causes Affective Change, causes Events causes World state changes.

Persuasion is all about affective change. But there is a disconnect between story and reality.

One way to do this is to use role play. Experiential learning. Need a facilitator. Development of perspective taking. Thinking differently about points of view. Creation of empathy is essential. It won’t work if it is too predictable, or if it is too formulaic, or if the immersion is broken.

Sense of presence:

  • Summon up visualisation
  • Events fitting with logic of world
  • Challenges for user
  • Characters for feeling of social presence – it matters what you do; actions impact on characters. There are consequences.

You have to care about the digital character. Emotional involvement fostering.

Davis, 1994: Empathy is Cognitive (knowing) / Affective (experiencing).

Ruth gave the example of the FearNot project (virtual exploration of bullying for 9-11 year olds) and ORIENT project (Wii remotes on a large screen).

FearNot Project

Empathic agents – influencing behaviours.

Check out the RIDERS, http://riders-project.net, the next event is at QMUL.

Discussion Group

We split into groups to discuss how we used storytelling in our own research. Our group came up with the following uses that take place:

  1. Processes
  2. Inputs
  3. Outputs

And under these headings, we used storytelling for:

  • Reflection
  • Teaching
  • Communication of Work
  • Justification
  • Relationship Building
  • Story from Stories
  • Exploration
  • Different Audiences
  • Freeform

The other groups talked about:

  1. Validation of the story that you might tell. Cross-validation/triangulation from other sources.
  2. Mediating technologies to tell stories (tweets, photos, etc.).
  3. Different cultures for storytelling
  4. Different user groups – narrators, entrepreneurs, etc.

Colin Case

Colin facilitated an activity where we played the game Consequences, but using a conversation between a computer and a human. Then we discussed how collaborative storytelling occurs, in particular the role of chance and serendipity in this process.

Discussion

We had a really good discussion at the end of the session for 15 minutes about the shift in focus from narrative to storytelling. Is this reflective of the shift in general? In museums, there is certainly much written about the shift from museum as knowledge producer, to the museum as a space/place/agent to facilitate knowledge production by/with audiences. E.g. User Generated Content.

Narrative is what you end up with when you combine:

  1. Story as collection
  2. Discourse is how it is expressed.

There is more of the author in storytelling than in narrative.

Passive Audience of… Active Participant in…
NARRATIVE STORYTELLING
Engineered artefact Doing

Questions

What is the impact of storytelling?

Digital Economy Impact Panel Results

At the end of the day, I managed to get to the presentation on the results of the DE Impact Panel Review.  This has been the most thought provoking thing so far at #de2012 for me.

Paul Nightingale began the session.

Research to Practice takes time. We should get the research out there and ensure that VALUE is realised in society.

Haldane idea that Government doesn’t choose research may hold true, but impact will ensure funding from the Government.

Science Research Council, 1965: Achieving impact focus early on.

In the UK, DE is having a tangible impact on:

  • UK economy
  • UK society
  • UK research community

Findings:

  1. DE – internationally excellent quality. UK research is in a leadership position.
  2. Quality of many of the students is ‘stella’. Beyond internationally excellent.
  3. Doesn’t neglect fundamental research because of applied focus.
  4. Was evidence of impact – but too early to assess.

BUT…

Need to manage impact more strategically: Record, measure, communicate.

Some other thoughts from Paul Nightingale:

—  Monitoring process should be lightweight (when its going well!).

—  Cross portfolio networking

—  Academic research feeding into public policy debates is on Radio 4 all the time. Yet the average-spend on social sciences research for each UK resident is less than a gin and tonic worth per year.

—  Impact doesn’t happen at the end of a research project.

—  Early engagement is key.

Andrew Herbert then arrived and added the following thoughts:

—  Impact opportunistic. We’re not managing for it. There are no impact strategies. I.e. if you have a good idea, who do you tell? What/where do you go with it?

—  Too much digital, very little economy.

—  Define measurable desired long range target:

  • Goal to measure
  • You can see how you get there
  • Stages to get there (clear milestones with evaluation)

—  Link research and training strategies.

—  Business management and researchers needed. To think about:

  • IP
  • SWOT
  • Partner Relationships
  • Policy Input Development

— Attraction of critical mass is important

— Steering Boards with teeth as a model. Like an executive director. Keeping the PIs on track.

— Soft money is very important.

I’ve not been able to track down a digital copy of the report yet, but as soon as I do, I will put a link here.

Wednesday 24th October 2012

Today promises to be another interesting day, with poster presentations, a Dragons Den competition, and what look to be some great sessions. I will probably write up my notes for today on the train home tomorrow evening, so do look out for those here sometime on Thursday.

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