Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Assess a New IT Environment

Greetings from the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra, where Wendy Elford is talking on "Stories count: User experience captured in real-time to assess a new IT environment". Her PHD thesis was "Emerging issues in ergonomics: a methodological framework for foresight and sensemaking" (University of Canberra, 2011). This cites "The Network Centric Warrior:The Human Dimension of Network Centric Warfare" by Warne and others at DSTO (2004). She is also the author of "Using narrative in ergonomics research and practice" (ergonomics, 10, 12).

As far as I could work out from the presentation,  Dr. Elford conducts online surveys in the workplace. These are much like those I have experienced as a student and which are routinely used  to assess attitudes to courses. However, such surveys are not in "real time" or even near real time as Dr. Elford claims. It is not feasible to survey people frequently: as a student I get annoyed if I was surveyed more than every few months.

For near real time information something other that surveys are needed. Educators use analytical tools to carry out an analysis of data automatically recorded by the system, without the user having to fill in a survey and to provide information in day, hours or minutes, not months or weeks. In the case of students it is no good waiting until they fail courses to discover something is wrong. A similar approach could be used with employees, with computer and building information systems being used to asses how satisfied and productive staff are, before a problem gets out of hand.

Dr. Elford also mentioned co-working spaces, where small businesses can rent a seat in a shared office. A new co-working space, The Studio, one opened in the Canberra suburb of O'Connor recently). Dr. Elford seemed to be suggesting these made for a happier workforce.

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