From the drivers and factors that emerged from the previous stages of the workshop, four different future scenarios were sketched. The scenario were sketched within a two-dimensional problem space, whose axes were defined as follows:
- from: erosion of commitment to M-ITI culture
- to: increased commitment to M-ITI culture
- from: an unattractive environment with ‘hangers on’
- to: an attractive environment for top people
The four scenarios were imagined as a group excersise where each MITI member would try to immagine such a future and elicit its characteristics, which were captured by the facilitators and written on the pertaining scenario quadrant. Each scenario was eventually give an representative image and a title.
Particle accelerator (erosion of commitment ot M-ITI culture, attractive environment for top people) Career accelerator for overachieving opportunists, to do high profle HCI research without threatening the status quo.“Shallow but splashy”.
Further (attractive environment for top people with high commitment to M-ITI culture)
A rich, supportive interdisciplinary environment where top people share world class socially relevant, high impact results.“Carpe diem”.
Beer Club (commitment to M-ITI culture in an unattractive environment with hangers on)
A strong community of decent people doing stable, low impact research.“A comfortable place to work”.
Zombie Swamp (erosion of commitment to M-ITI culture in an unattractive environment with hangers on) An Institutional monument to preserve jobs and maintain ideals of research in substantial political partnerships.“We shall prevail”.
Once the scenarios were fleshed out enough that each one of us could immagine it as a possible environment where MITI could exist, we moved on to imagining MITI as a institution existing in each on of these four possible realities. This excercise will refine our perception towards signs of any one of these realities becoming a present situation for MITI and eventually take measures to stir MITI direction towards the preferred one.
- ‘zombie swamp’ – (bottom left quadrant) in this scenario, M-ITI exists as a self-preserving monument for short-term, low-impact research that is guided by political motives
- ‘beer club’ – (bottom right quadrant) in this scenario, M-ITI is a place where long-term, low-impact research is done by a group of pleasant, rather decent people
- ‘particle accelerator’ – (top left quadrant) in this scenario, M-ITI is a highly attractive place for young, ambitious researchers to have an opportunity to do shallow but splashy research, and then move on to pursue new opportunities elsewhere
- Further!’ – (top right quadrant) in this scenario, M-ITI provides a rich intellectual environment for people to conduct high quality, socially relevant research
Warning signals for other scenarios
If the following increase, you’re heading towards:
- Focus on individuality
- Impact factors dominate
- Many research papers, no outreach
- Bureaucracy & formalities
- Loss of funding
- No career prospects
- Core people leave
- Negative criticism and bickering
- Bad FCT evaluations
- Student drain
- Lack of vision, motivation and quality
- UMA takes over
- Teaching takes over from research
- Endless meetings (over food and drinks)
- Relationships with partner organisations diminish
- Bad FCT evaluations
The last exercise regarding the future scenarios was to identify which one was the preferred one for MITI members and understand how could we get, from here (the present ) to there (our preferred future).
How to get from here to Further by 2024
→ Clarity (vision, research core*, relationship with university, tasks, selection criteria…)
→ Authenticity (people, relevance, strategy, m-iti culture)
→ Autonomy (structural funds, regional, european…)
→ Communication (internal, external, PR, seminars, online…)
→ Social space (‘cafe’, something including food & drinks, possibly outside of m-iti)• Open Governance structure & professional management…
→ Sustainability important in the research core• Critical mass (20+ top people) + an ERAChair who can help bring M-ITI Further
Secondly we identified that we needed to collectively outline a strong research core for MITI in the Further scenario, around which the institute would define its own research agenda and strategy.