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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What is needed in the future when it comes to digital competence? This is the topic of a project coordinated by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis. My role in this will be as one of the experts filling in a Delphi study and joining in a one day meeting in Stockholm next year. And as you can imagine, I have been asked as one of their gender equality experts related to digitalization.
The questions that are asked are:
• What do jobs look like in 5-10 years?
• What digital skills are needed to perform these tasks?
The knowledge of how the tasks performed at the job will change is contradictory and under construction. This makes it difficult today to understand what digital skills will be needed to do the jobs in the future. In order to gain a deeper understanding of what digital skills will be needed in the future, a study is conducted focusing on the following three areas:
• The service sector
• Gender equality (women / men)
Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysishas written a number of reports on digitization. The new project Digital competence, how is the present and future in education systems and business begins by updating the knowledge of how digitally mature Swedish companies are today. The Authority’s new maturity calculations include, among other things, components that showcase the companies’ digital competence.
This will be an interesting learning experience, and I hope to be able to contribute with my knowledge about competence, work and gender!
Martin Rydmark and Göran Petersson are editors of a forthcoming Swedish book for students and people interested in learning about Medical Informatics. The book will be an updated version of a very popular book written in 1996 named Medicinsk informatik with Liber utbildning as the publisher.
I will be contributing to two of the chapters in the book:
- One about usability and the work environment for health care professionals written together with Diane Golay and Minna Salminen Karlsson
- One focusing on person centred care and eServices written together with Axel Wolf, Isabella Scandurra and Maria Hägglund
We will be working with these book chapters in the fall and the first deadline is in November. At this point the work consists of being creative, as the illustration of this blog post is supposed to highlight. We are discussing, and planning the content of each chapter using different colours for the areas that we are going to write about.
For me writing a course book is a new experience, and I also very seldom write in Swedish so this will be something new.
This fall I have the great opportunity to work at another department at Uppsala University: The department of Informatics and Media. My research area (Human Computer Interaction) has two different belongings in the organisational structure of Uppsala University and I have gotten the chance to be a visiting professor at the other department that has Human Computer Interaction. I will be working at Informatics and Media around 30% of my time this fall! Geographically the distance between the departments is around three kilometres, and I will be using a bike to get around in town. The department where I will be visiting is in the faculty of social sciences, and the faculty I usually work at is a faculty of science and technology. Given that I have been at the same department for 17 years, it feels like it is about time to see a new place and for me this is a real opportunity!
During my time at the department I will participate in certain meetings in my role as professor, and I will also organise meetings for staff in human computer interaction. Mostly I will aim at getting to know people and their research, and try to find areas of collaboration.
My work at the department of informatics and media started a couple of weeks ago with a kick off at Lejondals slott. It was super nice, and the team seemed great!
In the spring we got funding for a gender mainstreaming and work environment project (WONDER), and we have been working with this at the division of Vi2. The project team consists of colleagues Robin Strand (head of division), Ginevra Castellano (the Equal Opportunities Officer at the Department) and excellent Giulia Perugia.
The project is called WONDER (WOrk eNvironment aND wEllbeing) and is an organisational development project. We will work with health promotion and work environment improvement measures for everyone and with particular focus on the group of doctoral students and young researchers at the unit from a gender perspective.
In October this year the project organises a retreat at Krusenbergs Herrgård with the help of an occupational health expert. We will be discussing and learning more about work environment issues in academia during two days. An unusual amount of people have signed up for the retreat, and I have been discussing the content with the expert from PREVIA that we got recommended. There will also be a follow up seminar from PREVIA in November, and the plan is that we will also have additional seminars about gender mainstreaming and the work environment at the division.
We will also look into and try to evaluate our work environment from a gender perspective as a part of the project. We will look into space, time allocation and resources. I would also very much like to look into the issue of Academic household work, that has recently been discussed in media https://www.tidningencurie.se/nyheter/2019/08/27/vem-star-for-hushallsarbetet-i-akademin/. However, I am not sure that there is room for that in this project, and perhaps we need additional funding to look into this part.
Many people suffer from stress and we need to improve wellbeing in academia – especially for women who are more likely to suffer from stress. This project is an attempt to move things one step in the right direction!
I will be teaching the IT in Society course as usual this semester. The course starts this week, and runs until Christmas. The collaboration with Region Uppsala in IT in Society course began in 2002, and over the years the subject of the course has varied according to what Region Uppsala has proposed for projects. For a few years the theme was the medical records online for Journal Patients, other themes have been consultations on distance and positioning systems.
In the project, 15-30 students make a common type of “feasibility study” during a semester to understand an area, and how the area can be developed from a technical perspective. IT students from Uppsala University and an American university named the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The collaboration with Region Uppsala roughly works as follows:
1) The Region proposes a theme that suits them well. The topic may be small or large, but should include open questions that need to be investigated. Someone from the Region presents the theme of the course at the beginning gives suggestions on areas that could be explored. The American students are in Uppsala this week.
5) Week 39 to v 50: The students work on examining the topic of the semester. During this period, they need help with access to health care people who can help them understand the topic.
6) in December a first version of the final result will be presented at an open seminar where the region has invited relevant people who are interested. The American students are in Uppsala this week too. The region usually booked a room that is suitable, and the university stands for coffee.
The last few years the students have presented their results at the Vitalis conference, and they have done really good projects. Let’s hope that this years’ course is equally interesting and will be presented at Vitalis! The topic of this years’ project remains to be decided, and I am really curious about what it might be!
My colleagues Robin Strand (head of division), Ginevra Castellano (the Equal Opportunities Officer at the Department) and I (deputy head of division) has received funding within gender mainstreaming from the central university. Giulia Perugia is also on the team and together we will work with making a difference in this area.
The project is called WONDER (WOrk eNvironment aND wEllbeing) and is an organisational development project. We will work with health promotion and work environment improvement measures for everyone and with particular focus on the group of doctoral students and young researchers at the unit. And from a gender perspective
The first part focuses on working environment and health with five seminar opportunities on preventing stress, depression and stress in relation to gender. We will also invite an stress expert to do workshops with us.
Part two focuses on inclusive leadership. We shall, among other things, develop a strategy for sustainable leadership, develop a policy for how internal resources are distributed so that, for example, the distribution of faculty resources and workload becomes transparent and can be followed up. We will improve their information dissemination with skills-enhancing seminars, which in turn will result in a strategy for inclusive communication.
I have soon finished my 10th leadership course. I have also signed up for the 11th course and awaiting to see if I am accepted.
Why do I want to attend this many leadership courses?
Well, perhaps I am a slow learner? Or perhaps I need more courses in this than an ordinary researcher? Or perhaps I aim for a higher leadership position in Academia? The answer to all these questions is NO.
The reasons for me to take so many leadership courses are many and here are the most central ones:
- I change, and my life changes. There is always a new learning experience opportunity. The courses gives be a broader understanding of people and life. I am very interested in understanding people. And I never seem know all there is to know.
- I deepen my understanding at every course. I can feel as if I am in an unstable state when it comes to some learning experiences. I do understand them at some point, but my understanding is not stable and I haven’t passed the threshold for really knowing them. One such area is for example being a middle manager and handling strange new decisions.
- I love the discussions with other people that are interesting in leadership. Often leadership courses build on the idea of peer learning, and that works excellently for me!
- I think that the course give me time to reflect on all kinds of different things.
I have just read a super interesting book that I strongly recommend. The book is called “Talang för människor”. The author, Kajsa Asplund, is a trained psychologist and has a PhD in business administration. Her research at the Stockholm School of Economics focuses on the effects of talent management on employee motivation, self-image and loyalty.
Talent management is a phenomenon that includes all kinds of ways an organisation works with attracting, identifying and retaining competent people. It is outside my research, but can be seen as a part of our research on professional competencies. Also, I am interesting in this book from a leadership perspective.
The book is not about academia but is more general and when reading about the book I was thinking what the equivalent of “talent management” would be in academia? We have a very harsh culture, very gendered but there are indeed some people that are seen as more talented and get more salary than the rest.
The word talent is used in a variety of ways and can mean all people in an organisation, or just an exclusive few.
Some of the things I found interesting and that I would guess are transferrable to academia are:
- In the future you need even more enable and empower people – no detailed micro management control.
- People who are appointed talents in an organisation often experience that their expectations of the organisation increase. Somehow being labelled as a talent in any way makes people aware of the relationship with the organisation: What the work includes and what they get back for example. One interesting possible reaction is working less hard, increased cynicism, negative attitudes. One quite common reaction to being labelled as talent is actually to look for another job!
- Many who are appointed talents look towards the global market and start comparing what they have with other “talents” globally.
- People who are appointed talents often become less motivated by the core business, and look towards management roles instead.
From the book it is clearly possible to say that talent management is complicated and it does not always go hand in hand with an engaged and motivated staff.