Communities of interest for enhancing social creativity: The case of Womenpower platform

Antigoni Parmaxi, Christina Vasiliou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Despite the introduction of gender discrimination and equal legislation, the majority of women still receive lower salaries and status. According to the latest official figures the gender pay gap in Europe is 16%. Moreover, women face the so-called glass ceiling effect the invisible, yet unbreachable obstruction that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications. Thus, in order to develop a modern manifesto for fragmenting this glass ceiling, we endeavor into a community platform that will bring together good practices, successful stories and practical advice on how women can deal with these barriers. This paper discusses Womenpower (WE-ME), a community platform intending to link women mentors and mentees from the fields of academia, technology, business, and health care for promoting women‟s empowerment, equality, and social coherence. Given the nature of this endeavor, there is a need to approach the development as a horizontal process and democratize the design of the platform, allowing for different perspectives of stakeholders to be heard and determine the design decisions. Bringing together actors with diverse expertise in the design process encompasses both opportunities and challenges. A basic premise of our approach is that collective communities with diversity of expertise and different approaches to the problem will spark a powerful and dynamic interaction promoting social creativity and building environments that move beyond traditional discipline-bound solutions. In this process, actors with different perspectives undergo a process of mutual ignorance and build on reciprocal teaching and learning for generating new understandings on how a women‟s
mentoring platform can be shaped. To this aim, we found Fischer‟s [1] „Communities of interest‟ to be directly relevant. Communities of Interest (CoI) bring together stakeholders with different kinds of expertise to come together for a joint venture. We developed three CoIs: 1) a team made up of end users, graphic and software designers. The first CoI was mediated by computational (mobile devices) and traditional means (paper and pencil) allowing for face-to-face interaction, thus maximizing communication between stakeholders; 2) a team made up of end users from the fields of academia, business and technology. The second CoI was mediated by an interactive tabletop allowing for simultaneous projection, discussion and commenting of the product; and 3) a team made up of end users, graphic and software designers. The third CoI operated within a social networking channel allowing for group members to discuss and comment on how the community platform should be constructed. This paper, discusses some examples of how various collectives of professionals came together for addressing a design problem and boost both individual and collective creativity. This study demonstrated that small communities consisting of diverse actors can determine and resolve important design parameters, thus reducing the risk of building a system which fails to meet users‟ needs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of INTED2015 Conference 2nd-4th March 2015
EditorsLouis Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, I. Candel Torres
Place of PublicationMadrid
PublisherIATED Academy
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9788460657613
ISBN (Print)9788460657637
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 2 Mar 20154 Mar 2015


Conference9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Abbreviated titleINTED 2015


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