A good doctor not only cares about statistics about your body in the past, which are lagging indicators, but also points you towards pathways to improve those statistics in the future — leading indicators. Similarly, I am much more interested in the question “How might we create enabling conditions for the team to converge?”
While the themes for the first three Cafes were pre-determined in consultation with our PI Dr. Melissa Bilec, this theme on “the human in the equation” emerged from conversations in the first three Cafes. In particular, we come to see that the point of departure for social science from engineering is whether human behaviors are included in the considerations. Remembering “each human is a complex adaptive system” from the first Cafe, maybe it is time we shed light on research when humans are included. How does human add to the equation? How are the complexities dealt with?
This is a timely topic given the big COVID context: working with uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges this pandemic has presented to humanity as a whole, and to each individual according to their unique contexts.
Some team members are wondering whether activities like Conversation Cafe are taking time away from producing deliverables to NSF. I totally get it. Time is scarce resource, so we should always be thoughtful about how we spend time.
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