ACM Symposium – South Africa

This year&#39s ACM International Symposium for Information and Communication Technology, is being held in Cape Town, South Africa. The symposium hosts a series of invited workshops, and this year one of the topics is Disemmination of Information and Communication Technologies. So this is a good forum at which to present our EU funded Prolearn project and our work on Prolearn.TV to a wider audience. SA is a convenient location for African researchers, obviously; but it is also a good venue for Antipodean and Japanese academics – kinda half way between Europe and Australasia.

My talk is about Heroic Failures. All those things we have done that just haven&#39t seemed to have got anywhere!!!

I used to joke that in KMi we have never failed to do anything, only done lots of things for which the world was not yet ready. Strangely enough, there have been quite a few of those! The theme of this ACM workshop is disemmination – so I figured it would be fun to see if I could work out why some of our best work has not had the world changing effect that we felt it deserved. After dissecting quite a few of our near-successes one conclusion has to be that the technology which works best is that which is near-invisible to the end user.

Quite a range of interesting folks here, including quite a few Prolearn people. So here are two honorable mentions, reaching beyond the Prolearn Network: First, some fascinating Australian blokes who HAVE effectively disemminated their work into a major Aussie bank. Peter Reynolds, Alan Thorogood and Philip Yetton (U. Sydney and NSW) talked about getting management buy-in to try innovation design rather than more conventional iterative and waterfall methods. Second, Yuzuru Tanaka (Hokkaido University) presented some facinating perspectives on the concept of new media as memes. The meme theory is backed up by some impressive demonstration “pads” which show how media elements can be made more generic and interchangable within the meme architecture.

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