Starting up Interview Study with the Aim of Defining “Digital Excellence”

The University Chancellor’s Office (Universitetskanslersämbetet ), together with the Swedish Growth Agency (Tillväxtverket), has been commissioned to analyze and propose how the supply of digital excellence can be developed in the short and long term. The assignment includes the development of improved statistics and forecasts of the total need for competence in business and the public sector with the aim of improving the conditions for universities and universities to meet the need for excellence in the short and long term.
However, there is no accepted definition of what digital excellence is. Our project hence aims to develop a definition of the concept of digital excellence. The definition should form the basis for UKÄ and the Swedish Growth Agency’s project.

As a part of this work Jan Gulliksen, Arnold Pears, Mattias Wiggberg and I are doing an interview study with 10-20 key players to understand their perspective of Digital Excellence. This week I have started doing these semi structured interviews, and it has been great fun. Doing an interview is always a learning experience, and people are often very wise and knowledgeable.

 

Participating in Conference about Social Work

I will participate in the conference organised by the Social Work Centre (CEASAR).  The conference will be run in Uppsala on the 12th and 13th of March. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for presentations of research in social work in a Swedish context.  The majority of the time will be devoted to seminar discussions papers. Simon Lindgren till give a key note which sounds really interesting on the topic of Digital Cultures and Digital Methods in the Social Sciences at the opening of the Conference. I will participate as a panel member discussing digitalisation in social work under the guidance of Professor Stefan Sjöström together with two other researchers:

  • Åsa Cajander, professor of human-computer interaction, Uppsala universityo
  • Lupita Svensson, associate professor in social work, Lund Universityo
  • Karin Osvaldsson Cromdal, associate professor in social work, Linköpingsuniversitet

Key Note at Uppsala Public Management Seminar 2020

On the 18th of March I will give a key note about work environment and digitalisation at the Uppsala Public Management Seminar 2020. When invited they want me to talk a bit about New Public Management and digitalisation, so that will be one theme. The key note will be in Swedish

 

Hur påverkas arbetslivet och arbetsmiljön av digitalisering?

Digitaliseringen är fantastisk och skapar nya möjligheter i samhället. Vi digitaliserar också alltmer och nya tekniker driver förändringen. Det vi ofta glömmer bort är att digitaliseringen i arbetslivet också påverkar vår arbetsmiljö. Under den här föreläsningen kommer Åsa Cajander att berätta om forskningsfronten inom området digitalisering och arbetsmiljö med illustrerande exempel. Föreläsningen kommer att beröra fragmentering av tid, förändringar i arbetsuppgifter och problemet med att vara ständigt uppkopplad och nåbar. Föreläsningen kommer också att innehålla rekommendationer och råd kring hur man digitaliserar med arbetsmiljön i fokus.

 

 

See you there

 

 

Working with a Definition of Excellent Digital Competence

I will be a part of a team that will work on a definition of Excellent Digital Competence (Digital spetskompetens) in the spring 2020. The project is funded by The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). The work will be led by Professor Jan Gulliksen and the other members of the team are Arnold Pears and Mattias Wiggberg. The team is composed of people with complementary skills to create the best possible working group, and my area of speciality in comparison to the others is the gender perspective.

Excellent Digital Excellence is likely to include a basic broad knowledge of the basics of digitalisation as well as in-depth expertise in one or more sub-areas, such as programming technology, AI, data security or user experiences, just to name a few. Digital excellence also certainly includes some form of documented practical experience of actively participating in several successful development projects.

The OECD notes that the lack of digital specialists and digital excellence is a bottleneck for innovation and growth in Sweden. The need is expected to increase in the coming years as digitalisation develops and new technologies such as AI will have an impact.

In order to work with this on a political level there is a need for a definition of Excellent Digital Competence, and we will work with this using several different methods:

  • Literature studies to map the state of knowledge, analyses of identified documents
  • Short interviews to capture the different needs of the target groups, both from industry and academia
  • Continuous reconciliation meetings with clients to clarify the work and give it direction and to iteratively refine and improve the quality of the result
  • Workshop / Focus groups to discuss and anchor proposed definitions, as well as to anchor the work and to get input into problem picture
  • Design thinking methodology for developing creative innovative solutions

I think it will be great fun to work in this project! I think that the topic is of high importance, and it will be great fun to reconnect with Arnold Pears, Jan Gulliksen and Mattias Wiggberg.

Attending the University’s Executive Program in 2020

I love attending leadership and management courses! They are often so inspirational and gives me a chance to reflect on who I am, and who I want to be. I see them as a chance to deepen my understanding of management and professional competence as a research leader and deputy head of department of Vi2. I also very much enjoy meeting and learning from other participants in the courses.

This year I was accepted to my 11th leadership course that includes seven occasions of two day meetings (14 days in total) in addition to individual coaching sessions. According to the information provided the executive program at Uppsala University aims to give you increased knowledge about the responsibilities and powers that the managerial assignment entails and about the laws and regulations that are applicable at the university. The training will also provide the conditions for developing your own leadership and leadership as well as offer support in the role based on your individual needs.

The first two days of the course will take place in Noors castle, see the picture of the blog post.

IEEE Frontiers in Education in Uppsala 2020

IEEE Frontiers in Edcuation (FIE) is a major international conference focusing on educational innovations and research in engineering and computing education. FIE will be running in Uppsala, Sweden Wednesday, October 21, 2020 to Saturday, October 24, 2020. Of course I will be attending this conference when it runs in Uppsala! The conference  really covers many interesting aspects of education, and I have published many papers with the UpCERG group at this conference. FIE is the place to be to be inspired by research on for example gender, professional competencies or employability in engineering and computing education.

Uppsala.jpg

 

 

Chair for Case study articles @ NordiCHI 2020

Hi,

I will be chairing and organising the case study articles for NordiCHI 2020 in Tallin. NordiCHI is one of the conferences I attend every time it runs, and I really like it as it is a mix of researchers and practitioners. And I also have many good colleagues who also join that conference.

The case studies track is new for NordiCHI, and it is a track dedicated to case-study articles and this year NordiCHI targets:

* Future scenarios
* Global development
* Digital society –
* Industry applications

The conference runs October 25 – 29, 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia. The deadlines for case studies will be up on the web page soon.

A Decade in Review

Ten years ago I defended my PhD, so this decade was the start of my career as a senior researcher. I have seen many blog posts about academic achievements as a part of the 2020 celebration,  and I thought that I might write one too. However, I will not focus on the success stories but on the things that went more or less wrong and that I learnt from during these years. I try to see these as learning experiences, as in “Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on”.

Here are some difficult situations  and learning experiences I have had made during this decade. Surely there are more situations to come!

  1. Finishing a Phd as a Single Mom with Three Kids. Ten years ago I was a single mom with three kids writing up my research into a PhD. Honestly my PhD is not amazing, but I am proud that I pulled it off and passed. The learning experience from this is that good enough works fine, and that family is what matters most in every situation.
  2. Non-finished papers. Most of the time I find the energy to rewrite papers that are rejected, but sometimes there is simply no such energy despite the paper being 90% done. Fortunately I do this very seldom, but is it still such a waste of time NOT to finish and resubmit. The learning experience from this is set of time, and to give yourself a deadline when the paper needs to be done.
  3. Accused of Doing Unethical Research. Our research consortium DOME was accused of doing unethical research when doing studies on the implementation of patient accessible electronic health medical records. We were of course freed from all accusations, but this was horribly stressful. The leaders of the consortium including me were on hearing by the ethical board, and I felt like a criminal. Other experiences during these times included people calling asking for help when all they wanted to do was to find problems with our research. Learning experience from this: You can really build a strong community when there is a crisis, and DOME flourished from being forced to really collaborate and support each other. DOME is still one of the nicest research teams that I am a part of!
  4. Not Getting Funded for Years. In 2016 I was close to giving up my career as a researcher due to not getting any funding. Getting funding and understanding the system was indeed too difficult, and I tried as good as I could without any luck. I felt like such a failure. After more than ten fails with applications I at last got three project funded, and I am still in academia but it was a close call. Learning experience from this: I think I did learn a LOT from writing so many applications with different people. Unfortunately I did not get to work with them, but today my knowledge about how to write applications has indeed improved from all this hard work.
  5. Media Coverage with Unexpected (WHAT?) Content. I have been interviewed in the radio where sentences I said were cut off, and media articles that I have been cited in have titles that I would strongly disapprove of. When doing research on patient accessible electronic health records this was really not good as it was lots of conflicts related to the implementation. The learning experience from this is to make sure that I read or look at everything that is published including the headline of the article.
  6. Declined Being Promoted. Around five years ago I applied to promotion to Excellent teacher, knowing from asking knowledgeable colleagues that I was indeed qualified. And also knowing from having done such assessments myself. However, I failed and the application was denied based on really odd details. The learning experience from this is that failing hurts, and unfairness hurts, but I didn’t die but applied again a few years later and passed.
  7. Lack of Support. For more than five years I was in a situation where I had very little, or no support, from one important person in a power position at work. This resulted in much stress, and avoidance of being at work, and me applying for a job at other university in Sweden. I did not get the job which really was too bad 🙁 . Learning experience from this: Academia can indeed be a tough place, and we need to take care of each other. However, I still think that I would have been better off switching jobs than staying even though the situation came to an end.
  8. Difficulties in a Collaboration. People are different, and value different things. One of the most difficult conflicts I experienced was in a collaboration that had worked excellently for several years when I was the Pi in a project, but that failed when my colleague became the Pi in a new project. We had a different views on what counted as work in the project when she was the manager, and we did not find an agreement. I finished the collaboration one year early. Thee learning experience from this is to openly discuss what counts as work in the project, and what is expected from each person.

On doing presentations and different audiences

I participated as a speaker on an event called “Competence – The opportunities and challenges of digitalisation” on Friday the 22nd of November. It was indeed super relevant and interesting! I wrote around 10 pages of notes from the event and it was really very interesting. I will definitely attend if similar events are organised again!

Somehow I got into a mode of being very funny, and people really laughed at my horrible numbers about failures related to IT in organisations and generally they thought I was quite funny. People also came up to me thanking me for a very interesting presentation, and the speaker after me started off by saying: “Well, it is not easy to give a seminar after such a funny speaker”. Being perceived as really funny was indeed a new experience for me! 

I sometimes give very similar lectures to this one for students at the university – an there no one laughs! They hardly look at me while talking, and few pay attention. Obviously different groups of people enjoy different things. 😮 

This was the information about the event: Do you run strategic issues related to skills supply, labor market and digitalization? Don’t miss our inspiring day with research and practical examples in the areas of skills provision, digitization and adult education. During the day, you will receive the latest research, examples from the construction and trade industries, and the opportunity to network with participants from municipalities, authorities and educational institutions.

The day was free of charge.

participants:
Amir Chizari, CIO / CDO, Riksbyggen
Åsa Cajander, professor of human computer interaction, Uppsala University
Anders Forslund, adjunct professor, Uppsala University
Sofia Hernnäs, PhD student at the Department of Economics, Uppsala University
Oskar Nordström Skans, professor of economics, Uppsala University and director of Uppsala University’s Center for Work Life Research (UCLS)

The talks were moderated by Laura Hartman, Uppsala University and Catrin Ditz, Storstockholm 

The event was organized by Uppsala University and Storsthlm in collaboration with the City of Stockholm and Digital @ Today

Being in the writing zone or having grit?!

I have noticed that sometimes I really struggle to write, and each word I write comes slowly and painfully. On these occasions I want to quit my job and spend my time doing easier things, and I have to use my grit not to give up. On other occasions I can really end up being in a “bubble” of flow, or in the zone where writing is an effortless achievement and the writing process is really giving me lots of energy. It is quite like being energised through the focus of writing, and the writing process absorbs be completely.

Indeed, the state of being in the writing zone (or not being there) is an interesting phenomena very central for academic work.

One could wonder if it is possible to increase the likelihood of writing as in the state of flow, and decrease the number of occasions when it is a pain?

This is my personal list of things that increases the likelihood of experiencing flow:

  1. Writing in a room together with other people often gives me inspiration.
  2. Having had a good nights sleep the night before
  3. A clear outcome is often helping. If I know what I want to say in the text it is easier.
  4. Deadlines might sometimes help – but sometimes they are just obstacles
  5. Take a short walk in the breaks
  6. Coffee

 

What are your tips for getting in the writing zone?