ECSCW2019 – Worst Case Practices Teaching us the Bright Side: Making Meaning out of the Dark Side of Assistive Technologies on the Shop Floor

Sebastian Egger-Lampl, Cornelia Gerdenitsch, Thomas Meneweger, Torkil Clemmensen, Thomas Ludwig, Myriam Lewkowicz


Digitization, which often claims the vision to support and assist employees with suitable technologies, is immanent in nowadays industry sector. This claim implies the challenge to not only design technologies appropriately, but also to consider that such implementations of assistive technologies do transform and shape existing work practices. Within this workshop we welcome researchers from a diverse range of disciplines to submit concepts or design ideas of worst practices related to assistive technologies for the shop floor. These worst practices may either be related to previous experiences and projects of the workshop participants or related to three areas of tensions we describe in this proposal. By discussing worst practices of assistive technologies, we aim to make central aspects of assistance visible and discussable. Within the workshop, attendees should discuss these worst practices and then jointly work on best practices designs and prototypes.

Call for Paper

This workshop focuses on assistive technologies on the shop floor, claiming to support and assist employees in production environments. By discussing worst practices of assistive technologies that bear the potential to transform and shape workers’ practices, we aim to discuss central aspects of assistance and – based on that – develop design ideas and prototypes of best practices assistance systems for the shop floor.

We invite designers, researchers and industry practitioners interested in participating to submit a 2-4-page position paper (following the EUSSET exploratory papers template – available as Latex, MS Word or RTF). Authors should send submissions to in .pdf format not later than 8 April, 2019. Position papers will be reviewed by the organizers based on relevance to the workshop and the potential for stimulating discussions on the research agenda to be developed during the workshop.

Pre-Workshop Plans

Prior to the workshop, the submitted papers will be discussed among the organizers to select an appropriate set of papers that will be accepted. Papers will be selected on the basis of their quality, compliance with the workshop themes, and the extent (and diversity) of their backgrounds. The accepted papers, then, will be circulated to prepare the attendees for discussions at the workshop. Beyond the themes highlighted in this proposal, other themes for the workshop emerging from the position papers will be posted on the website. A key discussant, identified among the workshop attendees, will be assigned to each position paper to facilitate interaction and engagement in the workshop. The participants will prepare a six to eight minutes presentation (depending on the number of participants) to create a dynamic and inspiring workshop atmosphere.

Post-Workshop plans

We will take the workshop as an opportunity to explore future collaboration, e.g., a mailing list and/or collaborative research projects. We further plan to consider extended versions of selected contributions for a special issue in the CSCW journal.

Workshop Structure

The workshop is planned as a full day event divided into two sessions and will involve additional online activities organized both before and after the workshop. In the first half of the workshop, participants briefly present their worst practice contributions and the discussants will initiate short discussions by asking 2-3 questions. By doing so, we aim to reveal and discuss central aspects of assistance for workers on the shop floor and provide a basis for the afternoon prototyping and design sessions. The second half of the workshop consists of brainstorming and creative thinking sessions, where we we will jointly work on best practice design ideas and prototypes. The following schedule is envisioned for the workshop:

09:00 AM Welcome and introduction to the workshop and participants
09:15 AM Short presentation and discussion of position-papers (Pt. I)
10:30 AM Mid-morning break
11:00 AM Short presentation and discussion of position-papers (Pt. II)
12:00 PM Wrap-up of emerging topics
12:30 PM Lunch break
01:30 PM Brainstorming and creative thinking session in smaller groups
03:30 PM Mid-afternoon break
04:00 PM Presentation and discussion of brainstorming session
04:30 PM Drafting an agenda for future research
05:00 PM End of workshop & wrap-up