Lorentz Center - Interdisciplinary Insights Into Group and Team Dynamics from 10 Jul 2016 through 13 Jul 2016
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    Interdisciplinary Insights Into Group and Team Dynamics
    from 10 Jul 2016 through 13 Jul 2016


Scientific report



The workshop was hosted by the Lorentz Center at the Snellius venue which has an approximate

limit of 25 places. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the workshop received 36 applications

and due to the space limitations, we had to be quite strict with reducing the numbers of attendees.

From this list, we had a total of 27 attendees for which 23 attended the full workshop programme.

The list was carefully selected to have an even balance between researchers in computer science

and researchers in group science. The aim of the workshop was to work towards a white paper

where the interdisciplinary struggles of both computer scientists and group researchers who analyse

human behaviour in group settings could be investigated and clarified for the community.


Sunday July 10

The workshop started with a welcome reception in the early evening of July 10 at the Van der Valk

hotel in Leiden where introductions were made. During this time, we implemented an exercise to

start getting attendees to think about how each researcher considered themselves in the continuum

between being a 'geek' (computer scientist) and a 'groupie' (group researchers). This enabled the

attendees to reflect on their stereo types of the extemes of this scale and also where they thought

they belonged on this interdisciplinary dimension.


Monday July 11

On the first day, each attendee had the opportunity to pitch their research topic and qualify their

self-rating as a 'geek' or 'groupie' to understand better how a collective understanding of the two

Illustration 1: Group photo on day 2 of the Workshop.

communities could emerge.

We found it was important from the start of the workshop to define the scope of what a group was

and to also set expectations that we wanted the attendees to be fully committed to working together

during the workshop. While this was very strict, it worked very well and all attendees were engaged

and invested in the workshop process.

On July 11, aside from the pitches, which we encouraged to be extremely short, (2 minutes each)

we also had the invited talks from both Louis-Phillipe Morency (CMU, USA) and also Ming Ming

Chiu. (Purdue University, USA). For Louis-Phillipe's talk it because clear that group researchers

needed to reconsider their data collection methods in order to take advantage of the state of the art

methodologies from computer science. From Ming Ming Chiu's talk, the work highlighted a

reliance on manual methods of labelling communication and showed where the interdisciplinary

gap was. In the afternoon of that day, we split into interdisciplinary groups to analyse some meeting

data. The aim of this session was to find a common ground to discuss differences in

interdisciplinary practice. The discussions highlighted the challenge of understanding each other's

discipline well enough to know what to ask for and how exchanges in mono-disciplinary services

could occur.


Tuesday July 12

On July 12, we had a second session about interdisciplinary practices in general and how these

could be fostered. However, during a plenary session after this, it was clear that the workshop

attendees were still not truly understanding each other's disciplines and the pre-arranged workshop

programme was abandoned. New break out sessions were designed with either geek-heavy or

groupie-heavy members to explain their key ideas of their research domain to the minority in the

group. Two of these sessions were organised and helped the attendees to understand each other



Wednesday July 13

On July 13, the last and perhaps most intense day of the workshop, there were concerns that while

we were all beginning to understand each other better, the structure of the white paper was still not

clear. We devised an exercise on the morning of July 13 to encourage all attendees to list their ideal

outcomes from the workshop. From these wishes, we were able to cluster them into key themes and

the structure of the white paper emerged from this. Aside from the introduction, the following key

themes emerged that were later turned into sections with a separate working group per section:


Initiating and maintaining collaborations and facilitating understanding

Identifying research questions or programs that truly advance both fields

Work Flow, Design, Data gathering, and analytical issues

Key areas for killer apps

Policy making/ strategic issues


The remainder of this day was spent defining the details of each of these topics and organising a

timeline within each working group with a writing and work schedule. A first draft of all sections is

planned for Dec 1 2016.



Overall, the workshop was a very intense few days. However, the activities that we organised

successfully created a group feeling between previously unacquainted researchers from very

different research domains. There is a strong feeling that this interdisciplinary meeting should not

stop but continue for more years. Given the popularity already in the applications for the workshop,

we are confident that this first initiative has ignited a strong need for more interdisciplinary

collaborations between group researchers and computer scientists.

Illustration 2: Inspection of self-rating on the geekgroupie

scale during one of the coffee breaks.