New Insights Tech Comm In China Oestreich


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Slides and insights from People to People Technical Communication delegation to China in Oct 2008

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New Insights Tech Comm In China Oestreich

  1. 1. People to People Ambassador Program to The People’s Republic of China Technical Communication Delegation Linda Oestreich, STC Fellow and Delegation Leader Jenny Redfern, STC Senior Member Alexia Idoura, STC Senior Member
  2. 2. Agenda 1 Delegation overview, background, and goals 2 Beijing 3 Guilin 4 Shanghai 5 Conclusions—professional and personal 2
  3. 3. Delegation overview, background, and goals 3
  4. 4. 2008 STC delegation to China  15 professionals and 5 guests  A global and multifaceted group  USA, Canada, Belgium, and Australia/Indonesia  HP, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Molex, Accenture, American Academy of Dermatology, Acrolinx, Geomodeling, and others  Writers, trainers, managers, application developers  Computer software and hardware, health care, geophysical exploration, telecomm, nuclear exploration, and other industries  Detailed delegate list on delegate blog:  One of several P2P delegations in China at the time: Ground Water Specialists, Midwives, Phlebotomists, and Emergency Room Nurses 4
  5. 5. Today's panel  Linda L. Oestreich, Delegation Leader, STC Fellow and Past President (Hewlett-Packard Company)  Jenny R. Redfern, Delegate, STC Senior Member (Sun Microsystems, Inc.)  Alexia Idoura, Delegate, STC Senior Member (Symantec Corporation) 5
  6. 6. People to People Citizen Ambassador Program  In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded an organization to promote world peace and understanding: People to People.  Eisenhower believed strongly in the power of the citizen ambassador. According to him, “the people want peace; indeed, I believe they want peace so badly that the governments will just have to step aside and let them have it.”  Since that time, thousands of delegates have explored fascinating destinations — from North America to Europe, Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and even Antarctica — making friends all along the way. 6
  7. 7. Cities on our journey  Beijing  Shanghai  Municipality  Municipality  Capital of China  Southeast coast  Northeast  ~17 million  ~14 million  ~ latitude of Gulfport,  ~latitude of Denver or MS Baltimore  Western influence  Financial/high tech  Guilin  Pudong = Silicon  ln the Guangxi Zhuang Valley, The Bund = autonomous region European waterfront bordering Vietnam  <1 million/city; ~5 million in area  ~ latitude of Key West, FL 7
  8. 8. On the map 8
  9. 9. Goals of the trip  Gain a better understanding of the common interests and challenges we share with our colleagues in China  Assess the state of technical communication and content development in China  Investigate starting an STC chapter in China  (And later, investigate starting an STC China SIG)  Learn more about China to support STC’s goal of becoming a more global organization 9
  10. 10. Beijing 10
  11. 11. Cultural days 11
  12. 12. From the P2P in-country briefing In-country guides spoke at length about Chinese history and recent cultural changes. “Dramatic changes are happening. Practice makes perfect.” 12
  13. 13. Professional agenda: Peking University Host: Professor Lai Mao-Sheng  Department of Information Management  Formerly Dept. of Library and Info. Science  Established in 1947  One of its students invented Baidu, the Chinese version of Google Hosted previous STC delegation, in 2002 13
  14. 14. Professional agenda: Peking University  Presentations from profs and grad students  Research and practice of techcomm in China  Relationship between media literacy and new media use  CIO as a new role in China: turning technical information into business information  Selling IT to the organization: using understandable terminology, common language  Designing and delivering information in the new China: Digital Museum of Science and Art 14
  15. 15. Peking University: STC presentations  Presentations from delegates  Current state of the profession in the West  Curriculum of one techcomm Masters program in the US, returning to school for a second career, working and going to school  Distance learning: Masters in techcomm 15
  16. 16. Professor Lai’s business card  Chief Member, Council of China’s Information Association  Member, Council of the China Society for Sci-Tech Information  Chief member, Council of the Chinese Association of Information Economics  Chief Member, Council of the China Society for Sci-/Tech Journalism  Director of the National Institute for Information Resource Management (Beijing)  Consultant, Occupation Skill Testing Authority, Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China • “We have two very different ideas about technical communications. In China, technical communications is more about communicating with the people. In the U.S., technical communications is about communicating about products in technology and business.”  “I graduated from Peking University, and have been teaching here ever since. Some years have been difficult. In the 1980s, Chinese businesses and industry began to grow, and to make attractive offers to our students. For several years, more of our graduates would go to work in industry rather than return to the university to obtain graduate degrees.” 16
  17. 17. Chinese netizen’s top requirements  Accessibility: in China, this means making online content comprehensible to a wide audience, i.e., young people and those with less education  Content must be designed to  Entertain  Inform and communicate visually  Create interest  Be usable  Information architecture to address these needs includes  Content organization  Two levels deep  Taxonomy/tags  Behavior design  Visual design (function over form, invisible design)  Technical considerations (standards, search, content management) 17
  18. 18. Professional agenda: Beijing Association of Science and Technology  BAST purpose  Bridge between scientists and technologists, and government  Popularize science with lay community, especially youth • Youth Science and Technology Innovation Contest  Develop international academic exchanges  Scientific think tank for local agencies  Presentations  BAST: Website to popularize science  STC: Why tech writers should develop medical information  Discussion  Popularizing science in China  Developing a digital information base  Role of professional associations in technical communication  Skills that make for successful job candidates in techcomm 18
  19. 19. Professional agenda: Digital Industry Development Base  Beijing Cyber Recreation District (CRD)  First virtual reality interactive  economic zone  Experiencing  Entertaining  Interacting  Competing  Interesting environment – white gleaming tubular walls, meeting rooms in concentric circles, seating in modular form  Theme music!  Dotman and Dotwoman on the bathroom doors... 19
  20. 20. Presentations at the BCRD  Overview: Hosts emphasize that the Chinese audience is more visually oriented, and Westerners are more text oriented (And the presentations demonstrated this)  Kent Taylor on technology for information quality management (Acrolinx IQ Suite)—possibly will help them write better English  DotMan: a business-focused virtual world, similar to Second Life, but more secure and user-friendly  DotMan estimates they have 150 million Avatars with 7 million online at any one time (Second Life’s figures are 10 million and 50K respectively).  They have 9 similar worlds in the pipeline  Virtual worlds are fast becoming used for business meetings, distance learning, banking, shopping, etc.  Gartner states that in 5 years, 80% of regular internet users will have a virtual world presence.  See Virtual Worlds and China 20
  21. 21. BCRD: Tour of computer graphics companies  Computer graphics business is big in China  Outsourcing all phases of development  Great first jobs for new CE university grads  Two companies have development offices in the BCRD 21
  22. 22. Guilin 22
  23. 23. Cultural days 23
  24. 24. What were the four ancient Chinese inventions? 1. Papermaking, gunpowder, printing, the compass 2. Papermaking, gunpowder, printing, the wheel 3. Papermaking, ink, printing, the compass 4. Spaghetti, gunpowder, printing, the compass 24
  25. 25. Professional agenda: Guilin Hunter Information Industry Ltd. Corp  Guilin Hunter Information Industry Limited Corporation  Chairman and Professor of Guilin University in Dept of Electronic Sciences  Main areas of business: software outsourcing, product development (RFID), information service products  Very interested in impact of economic problems in US  Interesting thoughts about India vs. China (next slide)  Two software engineers just returned from Japan  More interested in Asian partners than the West  Hs in the logo stand for Hunter-Highway-Hero: • Honesty, information & innovation • We must find our own characteristics in the sea of information • Listed on stock exchange: strategic goals for 2015: 1000 employees & $50M 25
  26. 26. Guilin Hunter chairman’s thoughts on advantages of India vs. China 26
  27. 27. Professional agenda: Guilin Programmers Club  Guilin Programmers Club  Engineers are the same the world over  Not so aware of tech comm, so it might be a good educational opportunity  Very aware of importance of professional societies, though; this one sponsored by Microsoft  One asked why Americans write narrative and personal stories when he just wants step-by-step instructions 27
  28. 28. Shanghai 28
  29. 29. Cultural days 29
  30. 30. Accenture Strategic Delivery Organization, Greater China  Accenture is well-known throughout the world.  One of the "Big 5" in the global consulting industry.  More than 3000 employees in China, specializing in four areas: consulting, outsourcing, solutions, and technical support.  By far most relaxed, open discussion – very little “protocol”  Similarities and differences in our culture (Why do you…?) See list on next slide  Open feel: even non-Accenture employees were invited to join us 30
  31. 31. Discussion topics at Accenture We made observations about the similarities and differences in our cultures:  China's "learning from a master" culture: our mentors  How the long history affects the rate of change in China  Engaging employees—both their minds and their hearts  "Creative" and "people" work versus "logical" and "machine" work  Today’s employees are looking for the complete package--not just the salary, but benefits and the company's culture  What hiring managers look for in potential employees, and how to retain employees  Hiring professional coaches for executives  The best way to train, leading to a discussion on visual communication, and "culturally loaded icons." :-)  Copyright protection discussion, re: Microsoft's actions against piracy of its software in China. It's estimated that 50-60% of MS software is pirated; they have launched an anti-piracy tool targeting Chinese computer users to ensure they buy genuine software. 31
  32. 32. HP Global Development China Center  Software outsourcing, the whole lifecycle (R&D through packaging)  GDCC Agenda  International collaboration, virtual teams, knowledge management  Intercultural communication and business opportunities for technical communication consultants as solution providers in China  Some miscommunication initially around techcomm, but quickly turned around when we talked to actual writers  Tour: could be any dev site anywhere. Cubes, strong focus on courting Japan 32
  33. 33. Dr. Andy Lai, General Manager at GDCC  Requirement to improve localization and communication--forming deeper relationships with global companies represented in China.  The growth of global enterprise is expanding quickly, and scale of relationships is global (remote teams)  GDCC has 3,400 employees in China.  Growth is expected to continue for GDCC along with all economic growth in China because of low labor costs, availability of great talent, and the low cost of living in China.  A huge challenge: necessity for non-Chinese language training so that improvements can continue in stronger communication, especially at the technical levels.  Desires to improve technical writing efforts in Korean, Japanese, and English for the Chinese writers.  Discussed rapid growth of technical abilities in China with new construction and new software applications, all increasing the need for more focus on the end users of software. That end-user focus drives an increased importance of competence for [technical] writers in the localized language of the end users.  Recognizes the need of good English end-user guides and the necessity to build the skills within HP GDCC.  Applauded STC Delegation's efforts and endorsed the benefits of exchanging ideas; he hopes to work more with STC in future.  Discussed "Open Mouth," a volunteer-run language learning program based on the immersion learning method that focuses primarily on speaking.  Although English is part of the Chinese standard education curriculum, Dr. Lai said that many official English teachers in China have learned Chinese without ever hearing any native English speakers speak. 33
  34. 34. Conclusions: professional and personal 34
  35. 35. Our professional conclusions  Overall  Juxtaposition of old and new in every aspect of life and business  Friendliness of people  Western influence: very important, but more in certain areas  Sensory overload  Freedoms and restrictions, i.e. Internet access  Many were interested in tech comm, but few knew it as a profession  Understanding and use of tech comm varies widely  Larger US-based and -influenced companies are more sophisticated  More universities are developing programs  Small, local companies are more likely to have engineers do the writing  Most companies start by hiring English majors, often through L10N • Tech comm is not credentialed and rarely organized  Most professionals in China write and produce their own docs •The exceptions are large companies and foreign companies  Regional differences  Shanghai = most sophisticated about tech com, Guilin the least, Beijing in the middle, more traditional  Don’t underestimate China’s determination and ability to be successful – need to watch and see how the profession develops 35
  36. 36. InfoDev in China and India: Conclusions (by Hackos/CIDM)  Organizations offshore for many reasons, not only to cut costs  Successful organizations have carefully planned their implementations  Many offshore implementations are co-located with product development  Addressing cultural differences is important to success  Organizations use on-site managers with cultural experience in both West and East  Hiring is difficult because of English skills  Organizations provide training after hiring  Successful implementations have more than six information developers at startup  Startup costs are high; ongoing costs, other than salary, are higher than domestic costs  Savings are not as high as expected, based on salary differences 36
  37. 37. Our personal conclusions  China's size and will to succeed give it enormous momentum  China has an enormous national (internal) audience yet to be addressed by tech comm  Accessible has very different meanings  West: Content available to persons with disabilities  China: Content available to lower classes and younger people  Communication has very different meanings  West: Expressing information  China: Building relationships 37
  38. 38. Reflections from Linda  The juxtaposition of extremely  The tenacity of the street old and extremely new. vendors.  The constant ant-like activity of  The etched faces of the older the construction trades women in the countryside. everywhere you looked.  The toothless old man who  The chaotic traffic and constant wanted to sell two really ugly near-misses. turquoise-colored Chinese lions.  The connection and  The overpowering surrealism of collaboration of our delegation. the whole trip.  The beauty of Guilin (even in the  The gratitude I feel for having rain). been part of it.  The fun of walking in the rain.  And, the knowledge that the world truly is minuscule and that  The grandeur and history of the we can all coexist if we only Great Wall. open our minds and hearts.  The graciousness of our hosts. 38
  39. 39. Resources and suggested readings  People to People web site  Official trip journal  Delegation blog  Some interesting books and articles  Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China  China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- and the Challenge for America  What Does China Think?  China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest?  Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade  The Atlantic: “Their Own Worst Enemy,” James Fallows, November 2008.  If interested in an STC China SIG, please email Linda and let her know. 39
  40. 40. Questions? Thank you! Linda Oestreich: Jenny Redfern: Jenny.Redfern@Sun.COM Alexia Idoura: 40