Monday, the Kulta researchers visited CSLI – Center for the Study of Language and Information – at Stanford University. We had an interesting discussion with visiting researchers from the Rich Web –project (the University of Oulu), Teppo Räisänen and Sakari Sipola and H*Star – researcher Andrea Botero from Media Lab, University of Art and Design Helsinki. Teppo and Sakari work with the project that studies “web 2.0 and beyond” and their interests are especially in persuasive technology (Teppo) and business aspects such as the growth of technology companies (Sakari). In her dissertation, Andrea studies using design thinking and open access software applications in everyday life and communities such as elderly people living together or open town planning. These projects are very interesting and in many ways linked to the Kulta-framework where the interaction between human subjects (consumers and people working in case companies) and technological systems (data processing, models) is in the focus of the project. We share the interest towards the practices of daily life (in companies or in the communities of users) and how technologies and systems of processing data are in interaction with users and how business succeeds in learning from the users by thinking them in a new and more open way.
Kulta researchers Tanja Kotro and Tiina Lindh-Knuutila are currently making a research visit to the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) of University of California Berkeley, and the H*star research institute of Stanford University.
In ICSI, we have had conversations of collaboration within Kulta project with Prof. Jerome Feldman, who is the former head of the Neural Theory of Language group in ICSI. The central research themes of the NTL group concentrate on studying cognitive systems and language acquisition based on computer science, linguistics, cognitive science and psychology. This visit lays groundwork on Tiina’s longer research visit to the group in 2009.
Next week we are going to visit H*Star -institute and meet Keith Devlin who is the head of the institute. H*Star researchers study human coputer interaction and is divided between dfferent interesting projects. Tomorrow, we will visit Scancor and network with researchers from the Nordic countries studying organizational science and meet Sari Stenfors, the associate director of Scancor, and a collaborator in the Kulta project.
KULTA acronym comes from Finnish words that refer to consumers and needs. The acronym is also a word in Finnish that means two things: gold and darling. Due to this nice ambiguity we have decided not to translate the acronym.
The project develops methods that can be used in understanding, conceptualizing and anticipating the changing needs of consumers. The conceptual models of the practice theory are applied to analyze changes in the consumer society.
These models are applied in the context of developing the business models of different kinds of companies. The data gained in this research and developing process are then analyzed and modeled using methods that are developed and applied in our laboratory.
The project was planned by Prof. Mika Pantzar (National Consumer Research Center), Dr. Tarja Knuuttila University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy) and Dr. Timo Honkela who serves as the responsible director of the project. Dr. Tanja Kotro from the National Consumer Research Center is the project manager of KULTA.
A central motivation from our group’s point of view is the possibility to deal with complex phenomena and data that deal with both individual and social levels of reality.
This blog is a forum for the project consortium to discuss research and practice themes that are hopefully of interest for the community more generally.