Collaborations Workshop 2013

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 27 Mar 2013 | 13:02

This year's Collaboration Workshop, organised by the Software Sutainability Institute, was held in the dreamy spires of Oxford. In particular Merton College, Oxford which turned out to be an apt setting for this kind of thing. 

Merton College at dusk.

It is somewhat hard to characterise what the Collaborations Workshop is all about, but in essence it amounts to a networking meeting where you get to meet 47 rather enthusiastic people talking about what they do and what they would like to do. The enthusiasm is infectious to the extent that even an old jaded cynic like myself can be taken along for the ride.
So how is it done? How do you quickly get to know a bunch of strangers to an extent where you might want to start collaborating with them?
Well, in effect it's rather simple - you provide break-out sessions on contributed topics in which people, if it is of interest, will volunteer to participate. You do an hour of brain storming and summing up and then you report back to everybody else. This is a quick way to get to know people and find out what they are interested in. This is also helped by lightening talks where people volunteer a presentation with one slide and a strict three minutes of talk time to give an elevator pitch on what they are doing. Using these mechanisms you can quickly identify people who do similar things to yourself and with whom you might want to work in the future. It does not have to result in an immediate collaboration - growing a network of people is always a useful thing to do that may come in handy in the longer term - though you can quickly get comfortable with people you only met a day ago.

Conference meal at Merton

To summarise, If you get a chance to attend the Collaborations Workshop next year, in whatever form it takes, I would recommend it. You will find it to be an illuminating experience. For more information see: