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Stranger in a strange land. | Project Research Institute

Stranger in a strange land.

 

Travel and inquiry are two of the best ways to broaden one's horizons and connect more fully with this interesting and active world - this was much my experience in attending the IRNOP conference recently.

 

IRNOP IX was hosted in Berlin by a helpful and welcoming team. Berlin is a city that has much to offer the stranger - lots of cultural perspectives on life, history and definitely architecture - but also many of the things that westerners find familiar - plentiful food, good coffee, cyclists, clearly signposted tree lined avenues, shopping!

 

In a similar way, at the conference I was also a stranger in a strange land. As an immigrant to "research in project management" I found myself in the interesting position of an outsider looking in, as I am neither a new comer to project management nor to research - only the combination of the two. The process and organization of the conference was familiar but different; the topic of the material was recognizable, its treatment academic, but with a sociological stance. With less rigour than I am used to, the research seemed to flow and encourage the potential for cross comparison, connection and comment between presentations, in my view a very good experience for research and researchers alike.

 

IRNOP is a healthy mix of academics young and experienced, who have, as I understand from its history, come together in this conference over the last nine years in the true sense of sharing knowledge and renewing and building new research relationships. From my outsider's perspective IRNOP provides project management researchers with a strong sense of community around project management research - still small enough that differences in perspectives about project management can be aired within the community,  yet active enough that the dilemma existed as to which presentations tracks to attend.

 

Quite a few years ago i presented at a large research conference about Artificial Intelligence in Japan. The scale and language barriers of that conference  removed any sense of community or relationship building and I was indeed most thankful for the poster sessions - in both their ability to promote dialogue and to help overcome the considerable language barriers of such a worldwide conference. An astute observation from some Swedish participants at IRNOP was that posters would be a good way to bring about really interesting discussions. As IRNOP appears to be on the cusp of growing to a size where community may need some help,  I agree with them.  i wonder how else community can be preserved in tandem with growth?

 

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