Science of Team Science
1st annual conference
Chicago

Bill Trochim spent some time at the poster on “Bringing the Social to Team Science,” wondering out loud if it is possible for some kind of “social concerted action” to come out of this conference. I posed the question to the folks I had dinner with: “If we were to actually come up with something to do together – collaboratively – out of this conference, what could it be?”

bringing the social poster

Intellectual Liberation

One of the cool features of this conference is the permission to say, “I don’t understand.” A Trekkie clued me in to this emergent feature of the social interactions here, and I checked it out with my dinner companions. They explained that because people attending this conference are from such disparate fields the usual assumptions that one is ‘supposed to already understand’ are suspended. It is rare to be with a whole bunch of highly educated people who are asking all kinds of questions that you hadn’t yet thought to ask.

We’re all on the continuum somewhere

The process of panel presentations has provided an impressive amount of information, but it isn’t clear what we can actually do with this knowledge. If we were to consciously build a network that gets beyond sizzle to move an agenda and challenge implicit norms (such as the division between practitioners and researchers, or that team science occurs only inter-disciplinarily), we have to do something more/different than what has occurred so far. Are we here just learning or are we in a process to generate new knowledge?

Tackling Team Science’s Wicked Problem

Because everyone has their own thing that they’re into, whether its research or administration or whatever, we would have to come up with “a meta-thing” as a goal or aim that everyone – or at least a solid cadre of us – could get behind. What if we decided to answer the process question? Instead of focusing on, “What is ‘the what’ of team science?” which takes as its mission connecting the science; we propose an examination of self-reflective case studies in order to identify “what works” and thus be able to explain and train people in the skills and techniques of effective team science.