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i-Conference 2006:
Emerging Research Agenda

AnnaLee Saxenian (UC Berkeley) started with a few words on "Services: Science, Management, and Engineering Emerging Research Agenda for iSchools," and introduced the panelists: Steve Sawyer (Penn State), Eric Yu (Toronto) and Robert Glushko (UC Berkeley).

Sawyer talked about five points in the context of real estate transactions: interdependence, co-creation, distribution, intangibility, and contextualization. [It's not entirely clear that I got all his points because after the third point, he just kept saying "next point" even after the fifth one. He summarized at the end, but the points seemed to be different from the ones I got. Slides would have been helpful.] Best story: real estate agents now work mostly from their cell phones, and ask their children to manage their websites... and some have recalled their kids from school when the website went down.

Yu discussed "The other 'Service' movement," which referred to a service orientation in computing, and whether iSchools should be involved in this movement. Services, he said with tongue in cheek, are being transformed by adding an "e" to words like "health," "business" and "museums." He then defined service-oriented computing (SOC), cited Google Maps as an example, and made a good point about how systems should be designed with interconnection in mind, and not built first then try to figure out how to connect them. He ended by summarizing: SOC is a major movent today, and iSchools must engage deeply in shaping it.

Glushko focused on "Bridging the 'Back Stage' and 'Front Stage' in Service Systems," and spoke specifically about how "service" is taught in school. Rather than emphasizing differences in service delivery methods, he'd rather emphasize what they have in common: service providers and consumers. [Aside: There was a problem with maximizing a webpage on the Mac, and he said that he hadn't used PowerPoint in four years. I suppose the problem illustrates his point about the back and front stages, but if we think of him as the provider and his audience as the customer, maybe he should have spent time with the software before using it.] He went on to say that there is a need to resolve the tension between the back and front stages, and ended with the role the iSchools can play in the resolution.

Category: i-Conference 2006

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