Pre-panel discussion (discussed on wikispaces before the panel):

Here are some initial points of discussion. Feel free to express your thoughts on these or any other points that you want to add:
(Legend/Key: Comments from the panelists/community appear in different colors below (feel free to choose your color!). Summarized points appear in black.)
(p.s This wiki is publicly accessible and editable)
(p.p.s During the panel, we would love to invite people from the audience to recite their 'stories' on how they got into the space and what challenges they experienced (or people who feel the need to get into the space but cannot because of some specific challenges).

1) Is it important for the HCI community to get engaged into the societal-impact space and for marginalized users? Why or why not?

Absolutely. The benefits and challenges presented by technology and by an interconnected society are just as relevant in the poorest regions of the world as they are in the richest. In many ways, they're even more relevant here, where a single shared computer terminal is a gateway for an entire village, or where a family of twenty shares a single phone. Moreover, design and the process of design changes radically in the context of low-literate, illiterate, or innumerate users whose mental and cultural models challenge many of our existing assumptions; shared and disconnected interfaces which allow us to spread the benefit of limited hardware resources to their greatest capacity; and populations who may be so unaccustomed to information systems that their experience with such systems is a tabula rasa. Unfortunately, as in many things, this audience is today widely neglected, not for lack of relevant research opportunities but rather a lack of funding, initiative, and institutional commitment. (Rowena)



2) How can we encourage greater participation for societal-impact projects within the HCI community (funding constraints, compensation concerns, awareness, concerns about impact potential?)
It's tough to speculate--do we have a sense of whether societal-impact projects have increased/decreased within the HCI community?
In addition to funding constraints, there could be perception that there is little innovation in this space. (Tawanna)

Apart from creating more funding opportunities, we could establish key priorities for researchers to organize their efforts around and collectively push the space forward. Another mechanism would be to create efficient, self-sustaining linkages between HCI researchers and practitioners in order to ground the work in real and recurring deployments. (Rowena)

3) What are the the kind of full-time/part-time/voluntary opportunities available for HCI practitioners/researchers to participate in this area? What are some specific domains where HCI practitioners/researchers can contribute here?

opportunities available for HCI practitioners/researchers
Industry research labs (e.g., IBM, Microsoft)
Academia
Social entrepreneurship
Volunteer: Supporting local community organizations, supporting the communities directly (Tawanna)

Recently a few organizations (like Villgro) have come up with some interesting fellowships (lasting for a year or so) where they send people on the ground to work with a social enterprise and help them grow by making apt use of skills and expertise.
Corporate Citizenship efforts need UX design experts for their on-site programs towards societal impact. (Anupam)


Specific domains where HCI practitioners/researchers can contribute:
Environmental sustainability (repair/reuse, resource sharing)
Employment (increased social capital, vertical capital
Education (increased access to)
Information and knowledge sharing
Government (Tawanna)



4) What are some key challenges to get into/sustain in this space as compared to other regular HCI branches?
Funding constraints, low compensations
(Tawanna)
Location - a lot of these efforts have limited internet participation and may demand change in location or frequent travels (Anupam)
Tools targeted at low-resource settings must inherently be cost-effective themselves. Travel is a challenge. Another is the effort required to bridge the organizational, cultural, literacy, and gender gap that often exists, requiring a significant commitment of time and resources. Working in low-resource environments is by definition more difficult, but this itself is part of what creates such an opportunity for new research. (Rowena)



5) What opportunities exist for collaboration/crossover between research in developing countries vs research in developing regions of developed countries?

Opportunities exist, but they must be approached very carefully given radically different contexts between low-income regions. (Rowena)









6) What do we really mean by HCI for Societal Impact? How is HCI for societal impact about making the world a better place, in ways that existing HCI practice doesn't already do?

See answers to 1 above (Rowena)






Sharing this paper (shared by Meena Vaidyanathan, Niiti Consulting from the dev-creative group) about 'Talent Infusion in Social Enterprise' http://www.villgro.org/images/talent%20infusion%20paper%201.pdf
alongwith a companion oral research that features personal stories and voices from various levels of talent in the social enterprise sector: http://www.villgro.org/vox-videos

(Anupam)