Thursday, March 28, 2013

Title: Designing for Remixing: Supporting an Online Community of Amateur Creators
Speaker: Andrés Monroy-Hernández (Microsoft Research) 
Date: Wednesday, April 3
Time: 12-1pm
Room: GHC 6501 

Abstract:
In this talk I will describe a framework for the design and study of an online community of amateur creators. I focus on remixing as the lens to understand the contexts and processes of creative expression as it is fostered within social media environments. I am motivated by three broad questions: 1. Process: how do people remix and what is the role of remixing in cultural production and social learning? 2. Conditions: what kind of attributes influence people's remixing practices? 3. Attitudes: what are people's attitudes toward remixing? As part of this work, I conceived, developed and studied the Scratch Online Community: a website where young people share and remix their own video games and animations, as well as those of their peers. In five years, the community has grown to more than 1.5 million registered members and 3 million community-contributed projects.

Bio:
Andrés Monroy-Hernández is a researcher at Microsoft Research and an Affiliate at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. His research focuses on the design and study of social computing systems that support creative and civic collaboration. His work has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, Wired, and has received awards from Ars Electronica, and the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition. Andrés was named one of Boston Business Journal's Emerging Leader in 2012. He holds a PhD from the MIT Media Lab and a BS in Computer Engineering from Tec de Monterrey.











Monday, March 18, 2013

Title: Intentional Crowds: Using Goal-Aligned Microtasks to Bring Together and Mobilize Groups
Speaker: Aaron Shaw (Communication Studies, Northwestern University) 
Date: Wednesday, March 20th
Time: 12-1pm
Room: GHC 6501 

Abstract:
Many approaches to crowdsourcing and crowd work treat participants as some sort of unruly mob. According to this point of view, a crowd exists to be harnessed, controlled, filtered, or otherwise directed -- often completely irrespective of the goals or intentions of its members. While this makes sense in certain contexts, I argue that the presence or absence of goal alignment in crowd-based systems reveals a design opportunity in the form of crowd participants' intentionality. Building from goal alignment, I develop the idea of intentional crowds as a means of both mapping previous systems and conceptualizing a novel approach to the design and deployment of microtasks. An intentional crowd is a distributed collective with a common set of interests or objectives, which are defined through shared affiliations, resources, or needs. As I illustrate with two early stage projects, intentional crowds can be brought together and their members mobilized through the performance of microtasks that advance their shared goals. With intentional crowds, in other words, goal-aligned microtasks are not only a product of crowdsourcing, but also a means to promote greater interaction, connection, and engagement.

Bio:
Aaron Shaw studies collective action, collaboration, and mobilization online. Current projects address the the organizational factors that determine whether peer production communities (like Wikipedia) succeed or fail; mobilization and engagement in online systems; and the dynamics of crowds. Currently, Aaron is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and a Research Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Beginning Fall, 2013, he will be an Assistant Professor at Northwestern. He holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.









Friday, March 1, 2013

Title: The Novelty Paradox & Bias for Normal Science: Evidence from Randomized Medical Grant Proposal Evaluations 
Speaker: Karim R. Lakhani (Harvard Business School) 
Date: Wednesday, March 6th
Time: 12-1pm
Room: Peter/Wright rooms in UC 

Abstract:
A core challenge in crowdsourcing is evaluation. When there are no objective criteria available, evaluation becomes a real bottleneck, when a multitude of entries come in a design context. In this study, we investigate whether novel research projects, those deviating from existing research paradigms, are treated with a negative bias in expert evaluations. We analyze proposals coming from a contest on InnoCentive and Harvard Medical School. During the evaluation, we recruited 142 expert university faculty members to evaluate 150 submissions, resulting in 2,130 randomly-assigned proposal-evaluator pair observations. Our results confirm a systematic penalty for novel proposals; a standard deviation increase in novelty drops the expected rank of a proposal by 4.5 percentile points. This discounting is robust to various controls for unobserved proposal quality and alternative explanations. Additional tests suggest information effects rather than strategic effects account for the novelty penalty. Only a minority of the novelty penalty could be related to perceptions of lesser feasibility of novel proposals.

Bio:
Karim R. Lakhani is an associate professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. He specializes in the management of technological innovation in firms and communities. His research is on distributed innovation systems and the movement of innovative activity to the edges of organizations and into communities. He has extensively studied the emergence of open source software communities and their unique innovation and product development strategies. He has also investigated how critical knowledge from outside of the organization can be accessed through innovation contests. He is the principal investigator and director of the Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory, which aims to systematize the use of innovation tournaments for the space agency.