What ICT can do for work-life balance

Last week the Balance Network organised a one-day conference, Beyond Balance, to bring together researchers, practitioners and industry parties that work in the area of work-life balance and digital technologies. You can find the full program here. The event was organised as an opportunity to showcase and present findings from funded projects on the topic. Because there were two tracks going on, couched by morning and evening keynotes, I was able to attend only half of the sessions, two of which I was involved in. Thoughts and reflections shared below are intended to be a summary of the three themes that emerged across all sessions (I attended, that is) and I took home that day. Together, the three points offer an answer to the question:

What can ICT do for work-life balance?

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Busyness vs. Productivity

Last week, at the Beyond Balance conference, in his closing keynote Oliver Burkeman argued Against Productivity.

He started off framing his views around the popular idea of limitless in time and positive thinking, according to which we can do anything. And as a result, we worship busyness (quoting Tim Kreider’s busy trap), which we can only keep up with if we fail at it. How? Take that email you received last week, and still have not replied to. You know it’s there, you know you should have done something about it, but actually, realistically speaking, your colleague has already emailed someone else to ask for their help, so, yes you failed at replying, but actually you can cross it off the list. Done.

And why are we so busy? Continue reading “Busyness vs. Productivity”

CHI 2014 workshop – Personalised behaviour change technologies

Very excited to present my first PhD publication at CHI2014! It’s a workshop paper, so it will be available online here. The workshop was on Personalised Behaviour Change Technologies and brought together researchers with different backgrounds (anthropology, psychology, computer science). 
A big issue that came up during discussions was trying to define what we mean by ‘personalisation’. Secondly, we discussed whether we should develop technologies that are meant to be used for life, or ones we can graduate from. Other concerns included evaluation methods, design techniques and how behaviour change theories fit into these technologies.
Hopefully, we will be able to produce a special issue based on our discussions. 
Below you can find the abstract of my paper, wrote together with my supervisors, and the presentation slides. 

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7 networking lessons I learnt at CHI 2014 (aka what I wish I had done)

I just came back from CHI conference (http://chi2014.acm.org/), and after talking with other PhD students I realised what I did wrong when trying to network. If only I had known this stuff before…. oh well, lesson learnt for the next upcoming conference!

1. Don’t aim only for the “big names”.

People that are like rockstars in your field might not have time to chat with you or, if they find a few minutes, they might not still be working on that paper you love citing so much. 

2. Don’t just go for questions at the end of a presentation talk.

Questions are good if you want a specific short answer on the paper they just presented, but it’s more likely that you want to have a long conversation with that person and that’s hardly going to happen at the end of a presentation. Especially cause people want to run off to the next session. 

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ECRC and CHI2013 Conferences

I got accepted as a student volunteer at the first ACM European Computing Research Conference (ECRC) which will be held in Paris between May 2nd and 4th 2013. What is even more exciting, is that it takes place at the same period and in the same venue of CHI2013.

At ECRC2013 there were be four different conferences:

While I was there I was able to attend the last day’s plenary sessions at CHI2013 held by Vint Cerf and I also got to see the poster section at CHI2013, which I found extremely inspiring.

CHI2013 Multitouch Ltd Display Plenary session at CHI2013 Vint Cerf speech