Van Osch Presents Research at World Usability Day Event

Posted on: November 24, 2015

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In 2011, Wietske Van Osch, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information started looking at how companies were using social media. A year later, she began a partnership with Steelcase, a furniture company based out of Grand Rapids.

"Many companies view Steelcase as innovative. People are interested to hear more about their strategy and how they have used social media technologies to boost their innovation capacity,” Van Osch said.

Van OschDuring a World Usability Day event on Nov. 12 at Michigan State, Van Osch presented her research on innovation in enterprise social media. She spoke about the value of enterprise social media and its role in creating a shared work culture and breaking down hierarchical barriers.

"Currently four out of five companies are using some form of enterprise social media," Van Osch said. Although there is a range in the complexity of platforms, once many companies begin using this type of technology, it leads to exploration of more options as they recognize the value.

Steelcase uses Jive Software, which creates a customizable platform specifically for Steelcase. Employees are able to form groups and share ideas and projects they are developing. Other companies like HP and T-Mobile also use Jive software.

In her presentation, Van Osch shared the findings of data compiled over four years of research on Steelcase, including 656 project teams and more than 6,500 discussion threads, 2,000 blogs and 1,500 ideas.

“The goal of this research is to create an innovation dashboard that uses near real-time data from social media and gives continuous feedback to project managers on the success of the team's innovation processes,” she said. “Right now, innovation is like a car without a fuel meter, you don’t know when to pull over and fill up.”

World Usability DayWorld Usability Day was founded to explore ways to ensure that the services and products important to life are easy to access and simple to use. It is the largest gathering of industry professionals, academics, government leaders and students facilitating the progression of usability, user experience and user-centered design. Each year, the World Usability Day community holds more than 150 events in more than 40 countries. Michigan State University’s event draws speakers and attendees from all parts of North America representing industry, government and academia.

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