The 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) just concluded in Seattle. The conference draws a wide range of academic and industry luminaries. CSCW describes themselves as:
“CSCW is a premier venue for presenting research in the design and use of technologies that affect groups, organizations, and communities. CSCW encompasses both the technical and social challenges encountered when supporting collaboration. The development and application of new technologies continues to enable new ways of working together and coordinating activities. Although work is an area of focus, CSCW embraces research and technologies supporting a wide range of recreational and social activities using a diverse range of devices. The conference brings together top researchers and practitioners from academia and industry who are interested in both technical and social aspects of collaboration.”
Yochai Benkler from Harvard Law School presented a keynote on “The Penguin and the Leviathan – Towards Cooperative Human Systems Design.” After several days of slides like the following, I had to search for some humor:
In addition to his cartoons, Hugh also adds a nice description of what he was thinking about with his art work:
“Oh, politics rears its ugly head again. What is is about large organizations that makes everything other than doing the work the focus of people’s lives? We all know that being liked, saying the right things, and making the right friends is essential to success in a big corporation. Isn’t that true about life too?
“I guess the work and the social aspects of getting the work done are equally important. Let’s face it, if you have the best idea in the world, but are hated in your organization, you’ll never get it implemented, will you?
“Work, politics, lobbying… it’s all just part of life.”
Scott Adams was delightfully eloquent with his thoughts about corporate collaboration in the last week:
Thanks to the availability of wireless internet access, I can always rely on Dilbert and Hugh Macleod to provide perspective to get me through a conference.