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HCII Seminar Series: Steven Dow

Steven Dow
Assistant Professor, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University


NSH 1305

Video link



A Research Journey from Telepresence to Design Theory to Social Computing

Research, like life, often takes us in unexpected directions. This talk reflects on my research journey through HCI. It began nearly 20 years ago as a U. Iowa undergrad when I helped design the remote-operator experience for a mobile robot controlled by visitors to Carnegie Science Center and joined a CMU-NASA team in the Chilean desert. At Georgia Tech, I designed and developed immersive mixed reality experiences -- technology that’s only now reaching a wider market. At Stanford, I used empirical approaches to investigate how prototyping practices affected design results. At CMU, we are exploring how social computing can help engage many diverse stakeholders in the design process. I’ll reflect on the practice of doing research at the intersection of design, computing, and psychology and discuss key lessons for creating a personal research journey. 


Advancing Collective Innovation

Society’s most daunting problems call for new strategies that engage many diverse stakeholders into the design process in order to solve bigger and messier problems. While the Internet makes it easy to find and coordinate people, we need to advance fundamental knowledge and technologies for "collective innovation", where groups collectively explore and refine solutions for big problem spaces. To explore this, my research group contributes novel interactive systems to better understand 1) how to synthesize large collections of prior research and examples in order to frame appropriate research questions, 2) how to productively select and build on the most promising and creative ideas, and 3) how to effectively engage in large-scale participatory design by gathering feedback from communities of stakeholders and through crowdsourcing and social media. To guide and motivate the design of these systems, this research builds on (and draws explicit links between) theories of design thinking and collective intelligence. 

Speaker's Bio

Steven P. Dow is an Assistant Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and will soon be an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, where he will be thinking fondly of CMU. His research interests include human-computer interaction, social computing, design education, and creativity-support tools. Steven has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, including a CAREER Award in 2015. He was co-recipient of Stanford's Postdoctoral Research Award and the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Grant. Steven received an MS and PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from University of Iowa.