Some reflections on collaborations in light of CHI 2023

I “grew up” in an academic discipline where people tended to work alone. A philosophy student typically writes self-authored reflective papers. While mature philosophers definitely understand the importance of collaboration, my studies led me to believe, at least early on, that someone’s greatest work is achieved alone.

As I got older, I realized how important it is to have fantastic teams and communities. The importance is more than just the synergy between people (i.e. sum that is greater than the parts). It’s also how some of humanity’s best attributes are unlocked.

Working together allows you to understand the world in new and sometimes profound ways. These understandings help us advance. Our species’ ‘secret sauce’ is not our intelligence, but how our cultures transfer new ideas and ways of working in the world. Humans generally don’t invent things by sitting around in isolation; they leverage the learnings of others both past and present.

I think this idea captures part of the spirit of communities like ACM CHI and make them great. It was an honour to attend #chi2023 in Hamburg and see first hand how teams can work together to really push the needle. It is also a fantastic privilege to have great collaborators like Anika and Aaron.

By working together, this community leverages information technologies to make fantastic new possibilities for humans. Many of CHI’s leaders are not just committed to advancing themselves, but to an ever-increasing and diverse community. This can help us all leverage our greatest strengths in the long-term.

There’s still a lot of work to do. I am thankful for collaborations and look forward to building new ones. Thank you to ACM CHI for being awesome!