A Place to Get Feedback and Develop New Ideas: WIPW at ICER 2018

May 30, 2018 at 7:00 am 2 comments

Everybody’s got an idea that they’re sure is great, or could be great with just a bit of development. Similarly, everyone has hit a tricky crossroads in their research and could use a little nudge to get unstuck. The ICER Work in Progress workshop is the place to get feedback and help on that idea, and give feedback and help to others on their cool ideas. I did it a few years ago at the Glasgow ICER and had a wonderful day. You learn a lot, and you get a bunch of new insights about your own idea. As Workshop Leader (and the inventor of the ICER Work in Progress workshop series) Colleen Lewis put it, “You get the chance to borrow the brains of some really awesome people to work on your problem.”

Colleen is the Senior Chair again this year, and I’m the Junior Chair-in-Training.

The workshop is only one day and super-fun. If you’re attending ICER this year, please apply for the Work in Progress workshop! https://icer.hosting.acm.org/icer-2018/work-in-progress/ The application is due June 8 (it’s just a quick Google form).

Let Colleen or me know if you have questions!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alanone1  |  May 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

    As one of the greatest problem solvers of the 20th century, Paul MacCready liked to say: “The problem is that we don’t understand the problem”.

    A harsher way to say this is that “Most ideas are mediocre down to bad”.

    Schools emphasize “problem solving” but they should aim at teaching skills in “problem finding” (ditto for NSF!)

    Along with that is the support and perspective that allows identity and ego to be separated from one’s (often mediocre or worse) processes and artifacts in favor of eventually making real progress.

    This was the hallmark of the ARPA research community in the 60s and one of the main reasons for its astounding successes.

    I worry about trading “real progress” for “tiny successes” …

    • 2. Jason Brennan  |  June 3, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Alan,

      Do you have any suggestions of a way forward on this? more towards an environment focused on problem finding instead of problem solving?

      As a young wanna-be researcher, I’d love to work in an environment like this, but everywhere I look seems so short-term focused. Though it’s not for me, I see why so many people want to start startups just to get something done (although it’s a horrible way of doing real problem finding).

      Starting a non-profit seems a better tact, but again it seems the problem is the greater cultural context of near-term shortsightedness we’re living in these days. Do you have any notions of what can be done to help that?


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