WITOps at Grace Hopper Oct 2nd, 2019!

Karen Holtzblatt and Carol Farnsworth will be presenting “Best Practices in Critique: How HCI Professionals Can Improve the Culture for Women in Tech” on October 2nd.

Fall 2019 WITOps Livestream!

We’re currently deciding on a date to do a livestream about our Jerk Project – how to combat bad behavior in the workplace. We will present this as a livestream on Facebook Live and YouTube Live.

April 21-26, 2018 CHI 2018 ConferenceSIG and Late-Breaking Work

Karen is co-presenting the “Designathon to Support Women in Tech” SIG and co-authoring a late-breaking work, “How Do HCI Professionals Perceive Their Work Experience”.

May 14, 2018 Karen Delivering Keynote at Gender and IT Conference

Karen is delighted to be the keynote speaker at the GEWINN Gender and IT conference in Heilbronn, Germany.

What’s an Op?

Research and Innovation to Create Real Impact

Classically an operation, an “Op”, is a set of planned actions that lead to a particular purpose. At WITops, we target a challenge in the daily work life of technology companies that can make a difference to women in tech and other underrepresented workers.  Each Op team identifies a problem, makes a plan, gathers data, finds the root of the problem, invents and iterates solutions with industry volunteers. Together we create interventions that reliably improve workplace life in tech. Ops are supported by a combination of volunteerism and donations. See the Ops we are working on now. 

We focus on changing principles, practices, and policy – not personalities.
We focus on successful ways of working – not blame.

Current Ops

Team Onboarding Experience

Mission: The first step in helping women thrive in any company is making sure they are set up for success starting on day one. The Onboarding Op does research and creates tools to improve onboarding into their working team.

Volunteer Opportunity: How is your organization doing? Get the checklist and compare it to your practice. What can you improve? Try making changes and let us know how you are doing. Volunteer now. p to be interviewed!

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Carol Farnsworth for her work in this area and Bill Kules for helping with the new graduate interviews.

Next Steps: The Checklist has been tested with multiple managers and organizations. We are finalizing a kit to guide managers and organizations to improve onboarding into their group. Look to try it and our services by March!

Donate: This work is supported by a core team of researchers and project leaders. Please help us cover our core costs by donating to the general fund.

WIT-y Games: Career Power Board Game

Mission: WIT-y games helps change behavior and increase awareness on issues related work and career success. Our first game the Career Power board game is ready. Try it to as a fun lunch activity or as part of onboarding new hires. 

Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for individuals or a game company willing to partner to co-develop more WIT-y games. Next project is putting Career Power online. Contact us to discuss ideas.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to my student team led by Chris Robeck as product manager along with Rebecca Annis, Xuan Zhang and Vichita Jienjitlert. Thanks to Bill Kules the supervising professor at University of Maryland for all his support.

Next Steps:  Order Career Power nowTry it with your team or for on-boarding new members!  Send us feedback here.

Donate: Career Power is ready for production. To spread the word we’d like to use them at conferences. Help us raise funds to support this. Our goal is $5,000.  Donate now

Chris Robeck

Chris Robeck

UX Designer/Game Designer

Rebecca Annis

Rebecca Annis

Grad Student, Library Sciences, University of Maryland

Xuan Zhang

Xuan Zhang

UX Designer, DREP Foundation

Bill Kules

Bill Kules

Director, Learning & Teaching, University of Maryland

Research: The Jerk Project

Mission: Identify specific behaviors which create or undermine the experience of connection and value within a working group. Create interventions to target change of these critical experiences.

Volunteer Opportunity: We have completed field data collection which has resulted in 16 key valuing behaviors and 16 key jerk behaviors. We will launch a survey in Q1 and will need participants. We are also developing interventions through action research. We need teams and managers to help us iterate them.  Sign up to show your interest here.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Lillian Meg Rosen for helping to organize volunteers and  Lacey Arevalo and Naishi Jain for project managing this research effort and to my students at University of Maryland HCIM program .

Next Steps: Once we complete the survey, validate the list of behaviors and complete the action research we will roll out games, team techniques, practices and exercises to help change these target behaviors.  

Donate: This work is supported by a core team of researchers and administrators. Please help us cover our core costs by donating to the general fund.

Interventions: Making Teams Work

Mission: Improve the way people interact and participate in working meetings and in general. Ensure that all participate professionally and feel valued. Ensure emotional safety by creating practices that naturally limit bullying, conflict, and bias.

Volunteer Opportunity:  We need managers and product teams to try out our team techniques so we can all learn and improve. Volunteer to be part of the Living Lab for Team Techniques. to partner!

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to my students for trying out these techniques and to all the teams we coached at InContext for helping us learn the best techniques for working meeting.

Next Steps: Once we hone these techniques we will create Team Technique Cards to remind you of good practices. And we have about talks and workshops now. Contact us.

Donate: Please support our work by volunteering your team or company. But we also need funds for travel, researchers, data interpretation, and oversight. Help us show that we can make a difference.

@Work Experience Measure

Mission: Create a measure to help companies see how they are doing on the factors that help women in techthrive. Develop a tool to direct change to increase job satisfaction for female employees.

Volunteer Opportunity: We need companies to volunteer their employees to take the surevey. Please give us access to  several hundred tech employees with different job titles on different team. This will help us learn how the assessment differentiates within and across companies. Please sign up to help.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to  Carol Farnsworth, Andreas Paepcke, and Nicola Marsden for their work on the survey. Thanks to the directors of the HCI masters programs for help findingn participants at University of MarylandGeorgia Tech, and CMU.

Next Steps: We will be sharing trends as we discover them. Then we will  run the survey twice a year.

Donate: to the survey fund. We need $20,000 to run another panel and analyze the data.

Carol Farnsworth

Carol Farnsworth

UX Designer at Facebook

Nicola Marsden

Nicola Marsden

Professor of Social Psychology, Heilbronn University

Andrea Paepcke

Andrea Paepcke

Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University