Greg Van Alstyne's blog

How to measure research? Two thoughts

For OCAD's Strategic Plan, 2012-17, sLab wrote a challenge scenario called "Payback." Details are in appendix 1 of the Strat Plan, Advancing Excellence at OCAD University for the Age of Imagination, 2012-2017
 
One of the key ideas in Payback is the rise of metrics -- the measurement of everything for performance assessment. On the subject of measurement, we can find at least two major attitudes, represented by what I will call "believers" and "non-believers."
 
Materials for believers:
The OECD's Frascati Manual finds ways to measure, well, just about everything.

Startup Grind hosts webcast with Eric Migicovsky, the founder of Pebble

Startup Grind Meetup kicks off in Toronto with Pebble founder
 
According to Startup Genome, Toronto is one of the best places in the world
to launch a startup. With new funding sources like Round13 Capital and
Jevon MacDonald's call to embrace optimism on the heels of a strong year for
early exits, opportunity and execution are the new themes of the Canadian
startup scene.
 
With that in mind, we are proud to announce the launch of Startup Grind
Toronto. http://www.meetup.com/Startup-Grind-Toronto By bringing together
Toronto's community of entrepreneurs, investors, programmers, designers, and
general technology enthusiast we hope to create a new environment for people
to connect, learn, and get inspired.
 
Join us May 30 from 6:00 - 9:00 for our first event in Toronto, a live

sLab researcher Helen Kerr featured in Great Minds of Design on CBC

sLab researcher and Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program professor, Helen Kerr, will be featured in the documentary, Great Minds of Design. This six-part documentary by 291 Film company explores the processes and motivations of Canadian designers. Helen Kerr and her firm, KerrSmith, are featured in the upcoming episode titled; "Dream Big. Do Good. Spread Joy." The segment offers a window into the creative and innovative projects coming out of the studio, and the thought leadership driving the process. Helen's episode is coming up on May 28, 2012, at 8:30 pm EST on the CBC Documentary channel.

Watch a clip from Helen Kerr's episode: 

Three TED talks that demonstrate Visualizing Emergence principles

These three TED talks happen to delineate and clarify the aims of the main themes and hypotheses of sLab's Visualizing Emergence project, part of CIV-DDD, a collaboration between OCAD University, York University, and University of Toronto.

It might seem odd to focus this material, given the pop overtones, and the sense of being scooped. But these are top people working on the same questions in serious scholarly ways, so rather than hesitate to make the comparison, I'm inspired to chase a similar dream. We can always add more dry references to the bibliography -- but we need to understand each other first.

Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations
West, theoretical physicist and former president, Sante Fe Institute, asks if a city is more like an organism, like an ecosystem, or like a company. In answering he clarifies rules about sigmoidal (s-curve) and 'hockey stick' (power law curve) dynamics. He reminds us that these patterns are given by the properties of social networks that underly all these phenomena.

What does research have to do with job creation?

I have not blogged here recently. Its time to end the drought. Below is a statement I contributed in a panel on March 6, 2012, at the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) Symposium of Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy. The event brought together a mixed group of professionals to ask:

"How can academic research be translated into better public policy?" "How can policy leaders get the evidence they need?"  Find out at the 2012 Symposium of the Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy, hosted by York University on behalf of the Council of Ontario Universities.  Knowledge translation is the focus in four key areas – health, the economy, education and the environment. Join us at Osgoode Professional Development on March 5 & 6, for interactive discussions on Ontario’s key public policy challenges and initiatives with thought leaders from academia, government, industry and the media.

Here are my remarks:

Digital media education: some incomplete spectra

In the course of discussing OCAD's new DFI or digital futures 'major' I co-developed this list below. Its not meant to be definitive of anything yet -- since its pretty divergent, unwieldy, not actionable. My goal was not to say all these things are necessary to digital media education but to suggest that
 

  1. Many familiar, inherited terms which may seem different are arguably convergent/closely related, e.g. physical/gestural/haptic etc
  2. Likewise many inherited terms are so weighted toward form factor, that we may end up focusing on categories (like "mobile") at the expense of content/purpose or other important aspects.

So, FWIW:

Content / Hermeneutics / Dynamics / Purpose

  • Media Studies / comparative / humanist / critical approaches / content analysis / semiotics / transmedia storytelling etc
  • Network Theory  /  Social media systems (design practice) / Cooperation studies (e.g. Rheingold, Shirky)
  • Convergence / Evolution / Singularity / Futures  (teleology / foresight)
  • Entertainment (w/ varying levels of learning and/or interaction)
  • Learning / education (Learner-centred)
  • Knowledge media / decision support (work, travel, shopping, warfare)
  • CSCW (computer supported cooperative work)
  • Advertising / publicity / awareness / persuasive / captology

Form Factor / Interface / Embodiment

  • Internet / Web as a channel / set of (evolving) technologies
  • Ubiquitous / Ambient / Embedded / context aware computing
  • Wearable / Mobile Technologies and Experience Design
  • Physical / Sensory Computing (haptic and gestural interfaces)
  • Electronic Arts /  Robotics  (sensors / actuators)
  • Graphic Data Visualization / Digital Drawing+Painting  / Animation / HD / Cinema
  • Fabrication / Rapid prototyping / POD (print on demand) / etc

Research / Creation Methods / Orientation / Criteria

  • Human Computer Interaction / Ergonomics
  • Human factors / User experience / Experiment / Prototyping
  • Ethnography, observational methods
  • Art / experiment / pure research
  • Applied / innovation / commercialization / development / business models / IP
  • Policy issues
  • Standards / open / proprietary systems and models / Intellectual property

Comments welcome! Am I missing anything, getting it all wrong, killing it?

PwC Crowdsources Canada's Role in the Digital Economy

PwC is issuing a call to action to engage Canadians passionate about "digital transformation" in defining Canada's role in the digital economy and I think that your voice would be invaluable to the discussion. The online community, dubbed "Canada's Digital Compass" is capturing seed ideas and identifying measures of success in different areas, ranging from Media Production to Education to Technology over the next six weeks.

 

Each week the community, along with an expert panel, vote on the most promising ideas and directions from the weekly theme and in early May, there will be a "final showdown" of previous winners to determine Canada's Top 3 Ideas on how to lead the world in the new digital economy.

 

Login at http://www.pwc.com/ca/compass and take part in the online community in any of the following ways:

  • Vote on submitted ideas based on how you think they embody the three principles of economic impact, align with Canada's values and fits with Canada's capabilities
  • Participate in the dialogue by commenting on the different ideas
  • Submit your own idea

sLab organizes its thoughts for the return of BookCamp Toronto (May 15)

sLab and OCAD last year had a strong showing at BookCamp Toronto. Carlos Scolari presented great work alongside Steph Troeth of BookOven, Bob Logan and Peter Jones and I held a workshop, OCAD alum Ghazeleh Etezal presented... it was cool, and we all learned a lot about the future of reading, writing and publishing
Even cooler, the organizers are hosting it again on May 15, 2010
This year's theme: "After ebooks: We are going digital, now what?"
Location same as last year, U of Toronto's iSchool, north tower of Robarts Library (aka "Fort Book")
As you can see below, the OCAD Strategic Foresight and Innovation program are invited to pitch and have garnered the moniker, "esteemed group" (!)
In true camp fashion, all are welcome to propose into the wiki at http://bookcampto.pbworks.com/. However we might want to collect our thoughts and approach it as one or more cohorts, which is what we did last year. The site asks: "Do you want to lead a session at BookCampTO_2010? Add your name and session idea on the session page by April 7"
I plan to compare notes with Bob Logan regarding how we might want to discuss the "sBook" and welcome all interested parties who want to pitch or present collectively to connect with me and Bob.

Designing Research | Research in Design, Feb. 9, 2009, 11:30am, OCAD

sLab's Director of Research, Greg Van Alstyne, will be one of three presenters from the Faculty of Design at OCAD in this event:

Designing Research | Research in Design
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:30 am–1 pm
Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul Street, Room 558

“An opportunity to learn more about the research practices of OCAD faculty Jules Goss, Martin Leifhebber and Greg Van Alstyne.” The title of my presentation is “Precedents and Architectures for the Future of the Book.”

Designing Research | Research in Design, Feb. 9, 2009, 11:30am, OCAD

sLab's Director of Research, Greg Van Alstyne, will be one of three presenters from the Faculty of Design at OCAD in this event:

Designing Research | Research in Design
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:30 am–1 pm
Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul Street, Room 558

“An opportunity to learn more about the research practices of OCAD faculty Jules Goss, Martin Leifhebber and Greg Van Alstyne.” The title of my presentation is “Precedents and Architectures for the Future of the Book.”