Agile Science Ignite Talk Given at Health Foo 2013

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Agile Science talk given at #healthfoo 2013 focused on changing the culture of academia

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  • Changing the cultural of academic science through a new values proposition
  • Science both from serendipity and through strong engaged processes has done great things.
  • We are facing complexity societal problems however.
  • Scientists doing research related to health are largely reinforced for doing small incremental science. Much of our current science feels like since there is a publication history of catapults, we’re going to build a manipult to get to the moon rather than take the radical leap found to building a rocket ship.
  • This problem is only further compounded by the radically slow pace of current scientific endeavors that researchers are reinforced to do. The randomized controlled trial and corresponding R01 funding mechanism is what we are all told to get. In the time of this one project getting done though, all of these companies have formed with the app store going from non-existent to half a million apps.
  • To me, that makes me question if we are living up to Tim O’Reily’s famous call for people to craet more value than you capture. At this point, academics, based on the value system are reinforced for capturing more value than they create.
  • We aren’t reinforced for trying to radical solutions to solve for X; the complex societal problems that we face.
  • The amazing thing to mean is that most academics I talk to know this. We all feel like we are on the Titanic heading towards an ice berg and no one nows what to do other than let the big behemonth keep moving forward.
  • But that’s that a good a good approach for creating value. Rather than panic, it is time to organize and a key way to organize, in my view, is to articulate the core values of what we should care about and be reinforced for doing as scientists.
  • To get the conversation going, I’ve created 6 core values and 10 guiding principles for a new way to do science that I’ve been calling Agile Science. The bit.ly link below is a good Google Doc that is open and ready for you all to tear this apart and help to create something that we can all get around. Here’s my first take though on the core values.
  • First, beyond pure academic pursuit, it is time to focus on relevance and social value. We have the knowledge and skills to help the world be better. Let’s use them to create more value for all.
  • Next, beyond these long and drawn out studies, we need to thrive on the power of iterative experimentation. Iterative experimentation allows us to be humble enough to try many ideas and learn from our mistakes quickly so that we can build on success rather than get into a place where we have to defend our egos because of the years we placed into a bad idea.
  • Beyond locked up knowledge, how do we foster openness and sharing. I was speaking with Puneet about how ridiculous it is that academics who are paid a salary feel like they “own” their work because they did it “for free.” No, they are paid to educate and to improve the common good and thus have an obligation, in my view, to share both with other academics but also society at large.
  • Next, the real Achiles heal, rather than publications, why not be reinforced for insights, tools, and solutions. There’s been great progress pushed forward for folks to work on open source tools or for creating good through code for america but as an academic, I’m not really reinforced for engaging in these. We need to set the value propopition to support solutions, not just intellectual masturbation.
  • Next,we need to organize around the complex societal problems we face, not the disciplinary siloes that we grew up in.
  • And finally, we need to focus on recognize that any solutions we develop need to be self-sustaining and thus fiscal sustainability should not be something to shy away from but be a central part of the discussion.
  • This is my take on the core values that we need to value instead what is traditionally done. I’ve also created 10 more concrete guiding principles and I invite you to bo to bit.ly/agilescience to read review, change, and create these with me.
  • I have hope that we can do this because folks like Bill Riley and Russ Glasgow from NIH are making calls for rapid relevant research, almost every academic in my generation I’ve spoken to agrees with these points and doesn’t want to do things any more, and there are even universities like my home univiersity that have developed new values that our presidnetmichael crow has dubbed the new americanuniversiy that support this type of work.
  • So rather than cower away and accept our fate, let’s make a movement together to change the culture of academia to allow this sleeping giant to truly solve the fundamental scientic problems we face. Let’s do it here today! Thank you!
  • Agile Science Ignite Talk Given at Health Foo 2013

    1. 1. Agile Science friko-diamondsdesigns.blogspot.com Eric Hekler Designing Health Lab Arizona State University designinghealth.org
    2. 2. Penicillin Human Genome Project Walking on the Moon theamazingworldofgumball.wikia.com Eric Hekler, @ehekler / http://www.genome.gov
    3. 3. http://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM Flickr – just.Luc Flickr-meanMrmustard
    4. 4. Academia now Flickr-alsotop What we should be Flickr-Stuck in Customs
    5. 5. 2005 2006 Conceive of a study 2007 Submit Grant Gather Pilot Data Eric Hekler, @ehekler 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Conduct the study Receive Funding Submit publications for review Flickr – Metrix X
    6. 6. 500,000th App Accepted on App Store 2005 2006 Conceive of a study 2007 Submit Grant Gather Pilot Data Eric Hekler, @ehekler 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Conduct the study Receive Funding Submit publications for review Flickr – Metrix X
    7. 7. “Create more value than you capture.” http://www.wired.com/business/2012/12/mf-tim-oreilly-qa/
    8. 8. Eric Hekler, @ehekler https://www.solveforx.com/
    9. 9. Eric Hekler, @ehekler clotheslinereport.blogspot.com
    10. 10. Eric Hekler, @ehekler
    11. 11. Agile Science-Beta - - Relevance and social value over pure academic pursuit Outputs as non-technical insights, tools, and solutions over outputs as publications Iterative experimentation over long time-scale, preplanned research Openness and sharing over knowledge as property Interdisciplinary teamwork and community engagement over siloed expertise Fiscal sustainability over fiscal disconnect PLUS Ten Guiding Principles, see: bit.ly/agilescience friko-diamondsdesigns.blogspot.com
    12. 12. Beyond pure academic pursuit Relevance and social value Eric Hekler, @ehekler Flickr-Stuck in Customs
    13. 13. Beyond long planned research Iterative experimentation Eric Hekler, @ehekler Flickr-Kaptain Kobold
    14. 14. Beyond locked knowledge Openness and sharing Eric Hekler, @ehekler Flickr-Andy Woo
    15. 15. Beyond publications Open Source Initiative Insights, tools, and solutions Eric Hekler, @ehekler
    16. 16. Beyond siloed expertise Interdisciplinary teams organized to solve problems Eric Hekler, @ehekler http://newamericanuniversity.asu.edu/resources/
    17. 17. Beyond fiscal disconnect Fiscal sustainability Eric Hekler, @ehekler http://www.bcorporation.net/
    18. 18. Agile Science-Beta - - Relevance and social value over pure academic pursuit Outputs as non-technical insights, tools, and solutions over outputs as publications Iterative experimentation over long time-scale, preplanned research Openness and sharing over knowledge as property Interdisciplinary teamwork and community engagement over siloed expertise Fiscal sustainability over fiscal disconnect PLUS Ten Guiding Principles, see: bit.ly/agilescience friko-diamondsdesigns.blogspot.com
    19. 19. Hope flickr Frank Wuestefeld
    20. 20. Agile Science Let’s make a movement together! Contribute at bit.ly/agilescience friko-diamondsdesigns.blogspot.com Eric Hekler @ehekler designinghealth.org

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