With the start of any new SIGCHI Executive Committee (EC), it is healthy to assess the state of the organization and lay out a plan moving forward for the new term. Thus, at the start of the July 2018 meeting of the new SIGCHI EC, the new President, Helena Mentis, led the EC in reflecting on the successes and open issues from the past, identifying the values of the new EC in how we conduct our business, and formulate our strategic initiatives for the next three years. The outcome of this strategic visioning session is outlined as follows.
The SIGCHI EC has articulated the following ten values. Specifically, these are instrumental values: they are our preferred methods of behavior. They are not an end goal, but they translate into a mean by which an end goal is accomplished.
- Open – we will have clarity in how we function and how decisions are made.
- Inclusive – we welcome all views and actively seek out input.
- Strategic & viable – we are focused and deliberate in what we do and ensure the sustainability of our actions.
- Collaborative – we work together and include the community in our work.
- Bottom up + Visionary – we aim to solicit, integrate, and balance ideas that address both immediate needs and long term goals.
- Flexible & learning – we are open to new perspectives and search out new ways of thinking.
- Nurturing & empowering – we aim to support and grow our community members.
- Fair & respectful – we will serve and protect our community and treat all with respect.
- Straightforward – we are honest in conveying our perspectives and feedback.
- Efficient – we aim to make best use of both time and resources of the SIGCHI EC and of our SIGCHI members.
These behaviors guide the EC in their relationship with one another and our relationship with our community including our conferences’ leadership and volunteers.
SIGCHI Strategic Initiatives
As we will explain in the next post, the SIGCHI EC solicited Grand Challenges from the community. Although all of the issues submitted are very important, the one thing the EC noted is how immediate the concerns were. This is in contrast to the longer-term goals the EC has identified to address underlying issues most likely not immediately felt or realized by the membership. The EC thus aimed to strike a balance between the immediate needs of our membership and long term strategic needs of the organization (see Value #5 above).
The SIGCHI EC has identified the following five strategic initiatives:
- Grow our membership to reflect the community. The SIGCHI membership roster to date does not fully encompass those we consider part of the SIGCHI community. One large reason we say this is that we have learned that many people who consider SIGCHI or any of our 24 conferences to be core to their identity are not members of SIGCHI. This is due to them not knowing they weren’t members (due to the confusing membership signup process), they do not perceive a great enough benefit to SIGCHI membership, or, although they identify with HCI, they might not identify with SIGCHI. This poses a difficulty for the SIGCHI EC for two major reasons: (1) formal communication with the ‘HCI community’ is hindered as many are not on our email distribution lists and (2) SIGCHI’s influence in the ACM is partly based on our membership numbers. Towards the second point, we want to ensure the HCI community’s needs are being met by the ACM and being the second largest SIG (in terms of members) at this time helps ensure we have a strong voice. We want to maintain and even grow that strength. This strategic initiative is also related to the growing global reach of HCI as well as the variety of disciplines that consider HCI (and potentially SIGCHI) an aspect of their identity. We want to welcome all under our umbrella and provide the nurturing and empowerment that we have identified above in our values.
- Ensure scalability of our organization and conferences. This strategic initiative covers a number of issues just under the surface of our seemingly smooth running organization and conferences. First is that our growing family of conferences needs to be structured in a way that is not a strain on the organization or our volunteers. Second, the CHI conference, which is steadily growing in both attendance as well as number of submissions each year, needs to be strategically managed in its growth trajectory. Third, and related to the first two points, our infrastructure had not been keeping up with our growth. We have already addressed this in many ways over the past three years with continued support for PCS 2.0, the conferences mobile app, and our new conferences leadership structure and processes [link to interactions article], but there is much more to do under this initiative. Fourth, is to address the strain on our volunteers with regards to service requests, but also to guide and nurture the next generation of volunteers in our community.
- Enhance HCI knowledge distribution. A core part of the SIGCHI mission is to distribute knowledge created by our community members. Beyond, the large use of SIGCHI publications in the ACM Digital Library [link to SIGCHI publications in ACM DL], we aim to continue to address this initiative through new mechanisms such as our Youtube channel [link to SIGCHI on Youtube] as well as continue engaging in discussions with the ACM regarding new publication models. We also realize that HCI knowledge distribution includes better representing and promoting HCI beyond our fellow community members. Over the past two years the SIGCHI EC has begun initiatives in public communication of HCI knowledge and we will continue to innovate and push on this front to elevate the public’s awareness of our field and the impact of our work.
- Promote inclusivity. This strategic initiative is in response to many of the issues and requests of our community members. It includes addressing accessibility needs in both our publications as well as at our conferences, supporting and promoting diversity in all its forms, engaging more regions in the leadership’s decision making, supporting different forms of knowledge creation and sharing to expand our authorship, provide language support for the growing global HCI community, and ensure we are addressing a healthy geographic spread in the location of our events. This is an ambitious list as no single one of these is a simple goal, but it is important that we are first aware of all of the barriers for our community to feel like they belong here with us.
- Support local & global HCI. HCI is still nascent in many parts of the world, but we are seeing a clear growth of HCI research and practice outside of Europe and North America. We are actively seeking to understand these new communities so we can better meet their needs and so it is easier for them to participate in the larger SIGCHI community. Another way that we are trying to foster HCI growth around the world is through our conferences such as bringing CHI back to Asia in 2021 and ensuring diversity in the location of our 24 sponsored conferences and many in-cooperation events. We also want to support HCI education needs and facilitate new educators in those regions through better knowledge dissemination channels and more curated content (see strategic vision #3).
The members of the executive committee welcome feedback from you on how our values and goals can be translated into actions for the benefit of the entire HCI community. We particularly welcome approaches from volunteers looking to invest their time to work with us in achieving these shared goals. As you will see in our next post, many of the values and strategic initiatives were spurred on by the Grand Challenges call we put out to the community in early July 2018. We will be putting out another call for more ideas from the community soon. In the meantime, please feel free to write the SIGCHI EC at SIGCHI-EC@acm.org.
Helena Mentis, SIGCHI President
Cliff Lampe, SIGCHI Executive Vice President
Regina Bernhaupt, SIGCHI Vice President for Membership and Communication
Anirudha Joshi, SIGCHI Vice President of Finances
Susan Fussell, SIGCHI Vice President at Large
Susan Dray, SIGCHI Vice President at Large
Dan Olsen, SIGCHI Vice President for Operations
Aaron Quigley, SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences
Julie R. Williamson, SIGCHI Vice President for Publications
Eunice Sari, SIGCHI Vice President for Chapters
Loren Terveen, SIGCHI Past President
Allison Druin, SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for Inclusion
Philippe Palanque, SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for CHI