Global Sensemaking

Tools for Dialogue and Deliberation on Wicked Problems

Just to keep this visible for the group: in response to Simon's original message Mark Aakhus flagged the following funding opportunity:

NSF call: VOSS--Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems

Program Title:

Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems (VOSS)

Synopsis of Program:

A virtual organization is a group of individuals whose members and resources may be dispersed geographically, but who function as a coherent unit through the use of cyberinfrastructure. Virtual organizations are increasingly central to the science and engineering projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Focused investments in sociotechnical analyses of virtual organizations are necessary to harness their full potential and the promise they offer for discovery and learning.

The Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems (VOSS) program supports scientific research directed at advancing the understanding of what constitutes effective virtual organizations and under what conditions virtual organizations can enable and enhance scientific, engineering, and education production and innovation. Levels of analysis may include (but are not limited to) individuals, groups, organizations, and institutional arrangements. Disciplinary perspectives may include (but are not limited to) anthropology, complexity sciences, computer and information sciences, decision and management sciences, economics, engineering, organization theory, organizational behavior, social and industrial psychology, public administration, and sociology. Research methods may span a broad variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including (but not limited to): ethnographies, surveys, simulation studies, experiments, comparative case studies, and network analyses.

VOSS funded research must be grounded in theory and rooted in empirical methods. It must produce broadly applicable and transferable results that augment knowledge and practice of virtual organizations as a modality. VOSS does not support proposals that aim to implement or evaluate individual virtual organizations.

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I'm interested in this solicitation. My idea is to evaluate the Collaboratorium in a number of large-scale deliberation contexts. I have about 4 or 5 major groups (e.g. US EPA) that have already contacted me and would probably be interested in participating. And I have probably the bulk of the proposal written already. But I'm afraid I don't have the requisite track record/awareness of the literature in social ethnography to get by the reviewers for this program, so I wondered if it made sense for me to team with someone with that kind of background?
I'm also interested in the NSF solicitation. I agree it would be good to have someone on the proposal who could strengthen the empirical evaluation aspect of the study. Unfortunately, I can't help with the ethnology credentials.

I imagine a build & test cycle that would allow for changes to the system in response to user input, and I would love to work with the team in the evaluation of user input and the evolution of the system design.






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