Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our workshop at ECSCW'07

This year, the IDC had the privilege to organise the 10th edition of the prestigious ECSCW conference here in Limerick. It was a huge effort, but it paid off. Everything was perfect, including the weather! For more details on the preparations and on the actual conference, check the conference blog!

Liam was the local chair, and Gabriela, Anders and Michael Cooke were involved in the organisation. Anne and Daniel also attended the conference.

On the first day, Gabriela was supposed to be involved as co-organiser in a workshop on Social Software. But you can read more on her blog about what actually happened!

On the second day of the conference , our research group was involved in the organisation of a second workshop, dedicated to The Challenges of Collaborative Work in Global Software Development.
More details are available on the workshop page.

The first part was dedicated to paper presentations. We had 12 papers accepted for the workshop, looking at GSD from various angles, from theoretical approaches to highly pragmatic ones. It was quite a challenge for Gabriela to keep the time, but she was without mercy and warned speakers and discussants whenever they were tempted to exceed their time!

The workshop venue was probably the best in the whole Hilton Limerick, the City View suite. What wasn't the best was the audio installation in the room. We discovered this when we tested it at 8:50! Actually, the loud speakers where not working at all, and at 10 am we had scheduled the presentation of Julia Kotlarsky and Ilan Oshri who were in Warwick and supposed to give an online presentation via Skype and Yugma. We worked through this little "crisis" with the hotel staff, and after 30 min of trials the loudspeakers abandoned their strike and started working again (with a bit of a background noise, but working anyhow!) During all this time, the presentations in the room went on without major interruptions.

When the time came, Julia shared her desktop with us and delivered the presentation. The next paper belonged to Séamas Kelly and Camilla Noonan, and Seamas had to speak into the microphone in order to be heard by Ilan, who was the discussant for their paper. Most of the time, the communication went fine, with all the annoyance of the background sound. But we were all relieved when this episode finished...

We took a longer lunch break and went together to Luigi Malone's, where we enjoyed the company of the other workshop participants (and the food!). Walking through Limerick city centre in the lunchtime mild sun was a plus;)

And the gorgeous weather allowed us to go out on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful view during the second part, when we had an Open Space. Topics were proposed, several groups formed, but the Open Space "law of two feet" wasn't applied too much! It looks like people were caught in one conversation and couldn't leave it very easy...

In the end , we had a short plenary session to communicate the conclusions. There's an audio recording of this session available for download, and the notes made by Gabriela and post-its were also shared.

A set of pictures is also available on Flickr.

As organisers, we were honoured to host the workshop, and we would like to thank again to all of you who attended! It was such an enjoyable experience!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The ECKM'07 Conference in Barcelona

On September 6-7, Gabriela attended the 8th edition of the European Conference on Knowledge Management at Consorci Escola Industrial de Barcelona (CEIB), Spain.
The conference attracted a large number of participants this year, and 11 streams ran in parallel... A huge challenge - running from one room to another proved not to be the most effective strategy... Some titles were misleading, some presentations very poor, and you were always finding out during the break that you've missed an outstanding presentation that happened somewhere else...

But as always, the KM people were extremely good at networking and this made the conference pay off!

The first keynote speaker, Daan Andriessen from INHOLLAND, The Netherlands, spoke about Knowledge as Love: How Metaphors Direct our Efforts to Manage Knowledge in Organisations.
A bit shocking in the beginning, but the idea of the keynote was that the metaphor we use for referring to something as abstract as knowledge influences not only our vocabulary, but also our approach. If knowledge is treated as a resource, it can be stored, packaged, transferred. If knowledge would be treated as love, it would be all about relationship, trust, sharing and so on.

A few papers I found of interest:
- Disconnecting the Knowledge from the Knower - Jennifer Adelstein
- Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms - A Case Study From Manufacturing - Julie Boyd
- Technological Gatekeepers - Eoin Whelan

The second keynote speaker was Jan Annerstedt from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark on Intelligent Cities. The topic seemed interesting, but the presentation lacked any connection to KM.

The highlight of the conference was the Knowledge Cafe, ran by David Gurteen and dedicated to the Knowledge Metaphor. David posted Daan's slides, pictures and a few video interviews on the Gurteen Knowledge website. I set up a wiki page within the eckm wikispace to serve as placeholder for our knowledge metaphors.

My own paper - "Knowledge Work Practices in Global Software Development" was well received and initiated an interesting discussion. Why most of the virtual teams in the literature are made of software developers? Aren't there any other examples? What's the value of studying practices?

A few interesting contacts initiated at the conference:
- Andrea Fried, from Chemnitz University of Technology
- Igor Hawryszkiewycz, from The Sydney University of Technology
- Ved Prakash, from WIPRO Technologies, Bangalore
- Stella Van Rijn, from Nyenrode Business University
- Hanna Timonen, from the Helsinki University of Technology.

Hanna's research work has the same focus as ours: work practices. We explored the chances for a potential collaboration between our research groups and decided to stay in touch.