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Interdisciplinary Insights Into Group and Team Dynamics
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
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.