COST workshop: Digital Platforms, 28 August 2017
Digital Platforms for the Collaborative Economies Workshop
Date: 28 August 2017
Venue: Sheffield-Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
This COST workshop will focus on digital platforms seen as enabler of the collaborative economy. We will consider the relation of design and politics in the wider socio-technical context in which these platforms operate and deepen its understanding as a CSCW phenomenon. The issues proposed for discussion are related to business models, data ownership and use, motivations driving the design of digital platforms and their impact on the various actors involved. Through a series of practical activities in small groups, we aim to encourage reflection on the use of CSCW theoretical concepts for highlighting particularities of the types of activities, cooperation, tools, or processes around using or developing these platforms. This one-day workshop will include presentations, group work and plenary discussions. In order to facilitate deep conversations, we are planning to limit the number of participants to maximum 16, including academics, researchers, graduate students and practitioners.
Our goal for the day is to consider the relation of design and politics in the wider socio-technical context in which platforms operate and understand it as a CSCW phenomenon. The afternoon’s discussions will further this aim. We will gather opinion on whether the field is sufficiently mature for a book or special issue to come out of the workshop. We will publish the contributions prior to the workshop on the workshop’s web page, together with other related materials.
The deadline for submissions was extended to 30 June 2017.
More details on the workshop:
The Workshop Themes
Platforms are changing the way transactions happen nowadays. Buying and selling things on eBay, hailing a taxi using an app, volunteering for public good, becoming part of a food cooperative, mapping the craters of Mars or crowdfunding the creation of a new gadget – all these are based on internet platforms accessible to anyone and possible to create by anyone. It is also apparent that platforms are being more or less deliberately ‘disruptive’ of existing socio-economic arrangements. For instance, Light (2017) shows how types of crowdfunding platforms not only enable new projects to take life, but actually seek to configure new paying publics around the services provided.
There are many questions to consider regarding exchange, work, and interaction that are mediated through current and emerging platforms: What does collaboration mean in this context? Who collaborates with whom? How is collaboration currently designed for (if at all) in these platforms? What might alternative approaches look like? Further questions around trust, reputation, and related metrics (Lampinen et al. 2016) are central for understanding peer-to-peer exchange and platform-mediated forms of work. Also, previous studies have shown that the motivations of those who create such platforms are not always in sync with those of the users (Bellotti et al. 2015).
The purpose of the workshop is to bring to the forefront the social and political implications of building and/or using platforms, and the wider societal and long term implications.
Some of the questions we would like to raise in the workshop are:
How do platforms raise the revenue needed to operate? What are the differences between for-profit enterprises and those with social or political missions? How do platforms lend themselves to mutual and cooperative enterprises? How does ‘free’ labour (e.g. user-generated content) contribute to the business model?
Who owns the data generated through platforms and their interactions? How is the value of data changing as the number and variety of platforms increases? How are the patterns and traces made by interactions managed? How transparent are the data policies and the extra uses of the generated data?
Toward which ends are platforms designed? What needs, desires, or issues does the platform address? How does the design of a new platform influence the practices that emerge by using it? Is there space here for inspiring good intentions or instilling positive behaviours? How do systems influence users and their longer-term practices? How does the introduction of a platform change existing exchange practice? What practices does it substitute or make superfluous?
How does the design of the platform affect who can use it, how and where? What are the geo-political boundaries to relevance and access? How might built-in biases prejudice systems toward or away from communities?
What are the merits and challenges of commissioning a platform? Who owns the platform in community contexts? Off the shelf or bespoke, how does its owner ensure enough control to shape its direction? What are the maintenance issues in the long term?
What impact does the platform have on different actors (platform operators/maintainers, platform users)? What impact does it have on how users’ exchange practices are enacted? How accountable is the platform to support actors’ decision making? How does the platform design mediate between different actors’ interests and values? In which ways is the platform empowering or disempowering actors? How is ownership and control distributed between platform designers, operators, maintainers, and users (providers/consumers)?
Do we need to develop new or extend existing theoretical concepts to highlight particularities of the types of activities, cooperation, tools, or processes around using or developing these platforms? What new or modified theories might we need to understand and describe financial and social interactions and values associated with platforms? How do we apply existing theories to interpret observable phenomena as well as to inform the design of platforms?
Light, A., Briggs, J. (2017) Crowdfunding Platforms and the Design of Paying Publics, in Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA
Victoria Bellotti, Alexander Ambard, Daniel Turner, Christina Gossmann, Kamila Demkova, and John M. Carroll. 2015. A Muddle of Models of Motivation for Using Peer-to-Peer Economy Systems. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1085-1094. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702272
Airi Lampinen, Coye Cheshire ,Victoria Bellotti, Mary L. Gray -The Future of Platforms as Sites of Work, Collaboration and Trust, CSCW16 workshop,http://www.mobilelifecentre.org/sites/default/files/cscw2016_sharingeconomy_workshop_camera_ready.pdf
Scholz, T. 2016. Platform Cooperativism- Challenging the Corporate Sharing Community, Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung, New York Office, online at: http://www.rosalux-nyc.org/wp-content/files_mf/scholz_platformcoop_5.9.2016.pdf
Program 28 August 2017
Venue: Sheffield-Hallam University, Charles Street Building, Room 12.6.13, 6th floor
9:00 – 9:20am
Introductions. The organisers will introduce themselves, present the goals of the workshop, discuss the schedule and outline the activities.
9:20 – 10:30
Participants’ introductions and position paper presentations. Each participant will introduce her/himself and will speak about the case study s/he brought to the workshop (max. 5 min. per participant).
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 – 11:15
Introduction of the Platform Design Toolkit. The platform design toolkit (http://platformdesigntoolkit.com) was created by Simone Cicero and made available under a Creative Commons licence. The toolkit was inspired by Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation Canvas (http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com). You can download the whole toolkit at http://platformdesigntoolkit.com/toolkit/#download .
11:15 – 12:40
Group work. The participants will form groups of 3 or 4 and use the Platform Design Toolkit to analyse one of the platforms they chose for their case study. This will allow the participants to familiarise themselves with the template we will use. Each group will be joined by one of the organisers.
12:40 – 1:00pm
Plenary Discussion. The participants will discuss the merits and challenges of the toolkit for teasing out the characteristics and issues of the chosen platform. The participants will be asked to think about a hypothetical or existing platform they would like to work on during the afternoon session.
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch break
2:00 – 3:30
Group work. Building on cases, themes, and platforms from the morning sessions, the groups will reconvene to design a new platform or redesign an existing one as a group. Each group will be facilitated by one of the organisers. A member of the group will be appointed as rapporteur and will be asked to note the main discussion points. Half time, the rapporteurs will be asked to give an update to the plenary.
3:30 – 4:00 Coffee Break
Presentations. Each group will present their redesigned platform and point out advantages and challenges that were identified in the potential functioning of the platform.
4:30 – 5:00
Discussion. The participants will attempt to connect the practices supported by new platforms with existing CSCW theories and identify gaps that need further research.
5:00 – 5:30
Conclusion, next steps, and closing statements. The organisers will draw conclusions and consult the participants regarding possible avenues for dissemination of the workshop materials and outcomes.
Gabriela Avram is lecturer in Digital Media and Interaction Design, and senior researcher at the Interaction Design Centre of the University of Limerick (Ireland). Building on a CSCW background, her research currently focuses on the implications of the collaborative economy on urban communities, with an emphasis on DIY, civic engagement and cultural heritage.
Ann Light is Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Sussex, working on design for change and social wellbeing; exploring the politics of participation, how to age well with technology and how design and culture interact to produce sustainable transitions in everyday life, making tools to support fulfilling, collaborative and less resource intensive practices with a particular interest in place-shaping.
Myriam Lewkowicz is Professor of Informatics at Troyes University of Technology (France), where she leads the Tech-CICO pluridisciplinary research group (part of UMR CNRS 6281). Her research focuses on designing systems for social interactions, which consists in defining systems to support existing collective practices or to design new collective activities. Her research is clearly interdisciplinary, and leads to reflections and propositions on analysis and design approaches which help defining new devices and services.
Matthias Korn is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Siegen, Germany. His research interests include studying and designing for civic engagement, community activism, and transgression. He has backgrounds in Information Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, and Participatory Design.
Volkmar Pipek is Professor of Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media with the Institute for Information Systems at the University of Siegen, Germany. He currently chairs to the board of trustees of the International Institute for Socio-Informatics (IISI).
Potential participants are invited to send descriptions of platforms in use or planned (their own or one they are studying/working on), followed by reflections on the design choices, based on the questions detailed in the workshop themes.
Position papers or case studies should be 2-4 pages long, and will be submitted to sharingandcaringcostaction at gmail dot com by 15 June 30 June 2017. If you wish you can follow this format: ACM_SigConf. Use “ECSCW 2017 workshop submission” as subject.
Update: we selected 9 papers for the workshop, as following:
- ‘The Hoffice Network: Socio-Technical Innovation for Sustainable Self-Organizing Communities’, Authors: Airi Lampinen, Chiara Rossitto , Stockholm University , SE
- ‘Crowdfunding: A model of participation in architectural design and urban planning’, Author: Timothy Snell, Plymouth University, UK
- ‘Collaborative Housing: Disintermediating the Real Estate Market through the Blockchain Technology’, Authors: Sergio Nazzare-Aznar & Abeba Nigussie, University Rovira I Virgili, Spain
- ‘Leveraging Digital Histories of Use for Resource-Sharing Organizations’, Authors: Anton Fedosov, Marc Langheinrich, USI , Switzerland & William Odom
- ‘The Development of a Digital Currency to Meet Social Needs’, Authors: Yasmine Arafa, Cornelia Boldyreff and Miriam Morris, University of Greenwich , UK
- ‘Examining failure of digital platforms in the collaborative economy’, Authors: Nadia Pantidi, UCC & Jennifer Ferreira , CIT , Ireland
- ‘On Commonfare.net, or supporting collaborative economic practices in contemporary Europe’, Authors: Mela Bettega, Maurizio Teli, Mariacristina Sciannamblo, Peter Lyle , M-ITI , Portugal
- ‘Responsibility, constraints and knowledge in collaborative design platforms for social care’, Author: Kellie Morrisson, Newcastle University , UK
- ‘Digitized trust in today’s sharing economy’, Author: Greicy K. Silva, M-ITI , Portugal