Category Archives: Monthly Meetings

Driving a world-class human-centered culture in your organization

The next BostonCHI meeting is Driving a world-class human-centered culture in your organization on Tue, Oct 17 at 6:45 PM.

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BostonCHI October 2023, featuring Tom Wintering and Neal Larkin


Ever feel like representing the user is the Sisyphean task of your organization?

Constantly evangelizing human-centered design principles as a core ingredient to the organization’s success and never seeing it included in the recipe? Seen as a siloed tactician rather than a strategic thought-partner? Building on Jared Spool’s fantastic discussion on the ways you can unleash your individual potential by changing your approach, we’ll explore the other end of the equation: how to support other functions, from senior executives to frontline team members, to understand and embrace design thinking as dual set of mindsets and problem-solving approaches unlocking step-change growth for individuals, teams, and the organization (and, of course, your customers).

Neal Larkin Bio

Neal is Associate Partner in design, technology and digital business building with McKinsey & Company. He specializes in creating customer-centric strategies and designing / launching new products for start-up businesses. Prior to McKinsey he was a Managing Partner from carbon12, a McKinsey acquisition, where he established best in class design process and helped build strategic design teams in the US, Europe and Kiev to serve clients in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Tom Wintering Bio

Tom is a senior expert in McKinsey’s Customer Experience, Innovation, and Design Practices, with a specific focus on organizational culture change. He spends most of his time helping clients build out their CX and Innovation functions while simultaneously enabling cross-functional teams at every level to leverage design thinking in their day-to-day decision-making. Prior to McKinsey, Tom was a Product Manager at Amazon where he first discovered, fell in love with, and saw the potential of design, and witnessed the power of Design teams who educated their non-Design peers on a customer-first approach.

Designing Useful and Usable Intelligent Interactive Systems

The next BostonCHI meeting is Designing Useful and Usable Intelligent Interactive Systems on Tue, Sep 19 at 6:00 PM.

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BostonCHI presents a hybrid talk by Krzysztof Gajos


My research is at the intersection of HCI and AI. I design, build and evaluate interactive systems that have some kind of machine intelligence under the hood. I strive to build intelligent interactive systems that are useful, that give people a meaningful sense of control, and whose behavior aligns with the mental models held by their users. This is challenging because the underlying AI technology can be occasionally wrong, it delivers the most value if it is allowed to act proactively at times, and it frequently behaves in unexpected ways.

In the past two decades, the intelligent interactive systems community has made substantial progress in producing useful design knowledge that addresses these challenges and machine intelligence is now present in many real-world interactive systems from nearly invisible (like predictive text helping with mobile text entry), to highly consequential (like AI-powered decision-support systems).

However, there are also some important gaps in our knowledge. In particular, my group has recently conducted a series of studies whose results indicate that some assumptions that I and my community have made along the way do not always hold. For example, adaptive user interfaces require more cognitive effort to operate than we had assumed, predictive text changes the content of what people write instead of just making text entry more efficient, and decision makers presented with AI-generated decision recommendations and explanations rarely engage cognitively with the content of what the AI communicates.

I will describe the studies that led to these insights and reflect on the current state of the knowledge pertaining to the design of usable intelligent interactive systems. I will then share some of our qualitative work on the clinical decision-making practices and, adopting a sociotechnical perspective, point out some unverified assumptions underlying the common choices of what (and whose) problems we solve with AI in clinical settings.

Overall, I believe that we can design useful and usable intelligent interactive systems but the relevant design knowledge is relatively knew and still a work in progress. The contemporary enthusiasm for using machine intelligence in interactive systems is an opportunity to grow our knowledge. It is also a danger in that it creates conditions where following the “best practices” of others, without having the time or opportunity to examine them, can turn unverified assumptions into fundamental principles of our field.

About Krzysztof Gajos

Krzysztof Gajos is a Gordon McKay professor of Computer Science at the Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Krzysztof’s current interests include 1. Principles and applications of intelligent interactive systems; 2. Tools and methods for behavioral research at scale (e.g.,; and 3. Design for equity and social justice. He has also made contributions in the areas of accessible computing, creativity support tools, social computing, and health informatics.

Krzysztof received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and his M.Eng. and B.Sc. degrees from MIT. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research at the Adaptive Systems and Interaction group. From 2013 to 2016 Krzysztof was a coeditor-in-chief of the ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (ACM TiiS), he was the general chair of ACM UIST 2017, and he was a program co-chair of the 2022 ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces. His work was recognized with a Sloan Fellowship and with best paper awards at ACM CHI, ACM COMPASS, and ACM IUI. In 2019, he received the Most Impactful Paper Award at ACM IUI for his work on automatically generating personalized user interfaces.


This is a hybrid event, to be held at Microsoft New England 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA, and online using Zoom. The Zoom link will be provided to registered attendees ahead of the event.

Notes: this event will not be recorded. If attending in person, please bring a government issued photo I.D. In-person registration will end 48 hours ahead of the event.

Gregory Abowd – Ignorance is Bliss: A career retrospective (hybrid event)

The next BostonCHI meeting is Gregory Abowd – Ignorance is Bliss: A career retrospective (hybrid event) on Tue, Jun 13 at 5:30 PM.

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BostonCHI Hybrid Event featuring Gregory Abowd, June 2023


In 1988, as a graduate student grappling to find a research identity, I accidentally discovered the field of HCI. Over the past 35 years, a passion for applying the tools and techniques of computing to uncover how the human experience with technology can be understood and transformed. That leap into HCI was just the first of a number of leaps of faith. My career has been a series of shifting research agendas, each one inspired by some life events. In all cases, I was buoyed by a bevy of talented and supportive colleagues, advisors and advisees alike, who gave me the courage to jump into a research topic that I didn’t know much about. That “ignorance” has allowed me to be more fearless than I had the right to be. In this talk, I will reflect on my professional journey, hoping to inspire others to dispel fear of the unknown and unlock their potential. Life, like research, is best when shared with others whom you can respect and befriend.

About Gregory Abowd

Gregory Abowd is a world leader in the invention and application of ubiquitous computing technologies. His work has defined the field over the past three decades, and his intellectual contributions have shaped two major themes in ubiquitous computing: context-aware computing and automated capture and access of live experiences. He has shown how a variety of application areas—the classroom, the home, autism, and health care—benefit from innovations in mobile and ubiquitous technologies. Two particularly trailblazing projects, Classroom 2000 and the Aware Home, demonstrated “living laboratories” to advance technological advancements as well as understanding the impact when those technologies are woven into everyday life. He is the most highly cited researcher in ubiquitous computing in the world, with over 60,000 citations. Nine papers alone have each been cited over 1000 times; four papers have won either 10- or 20-year impact awards. After 26.5 years serving on the faculty at Georgia Tech, Gregory moved to become Dean of Engineering at Northeastern University in March 2021. He still maintains an active research career, with his most recent efforts on computational sustainability and the Internet of Materials influencing a new generation of students and researchers.

Gregory’s leadership to the research community cemented ubiquitous computing as a core topic in HCI research. He hosted UbiComp 2001 in Atlanta, rebranding and establishing it as the premier forum in the area. He served on the founding editorial board for IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine and was the co-founding Editor-in-Chief of Foundations and Trends in HCI. In the mid 2010’s created the Proceedings of the ACM in Interaction, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), serving as the Founding Editor-in-Chief. This journal was a bold, and ultimately successful experiment to merge the best practices of conference and journal reviewing.Its success has served as a model for other HCI and CS communities.

Beyond the impact of his publications, his research has resulted in public-domain software toolkits and commercial solutions in the home and health sectors. As the parent of two sons on the autism spectrum, Gregory initiated a research program in technologies to support this neurodiverse population, resulting in several commercial products. In the process, he started a non-profit, the Atlanta Autism Consortium, that connects stakeholder communities across research, clinical practice, education, and families, and he was recognized by the State of Georgia for his efforts in establishing that organization.

Gregory is arguably one of the most influential HCI educators in the world. He is co-author of the first proper textbook on Human-Computer Interaction, first published in 1994. He earned several awards for teaching effectiveness and the innovative use of technology in the classroom, but it is his unrivaled success as a research mentor that separates him. He has graduated 35 PhD students and advised countless masters and undergraduate students who have gone on to stellar research careers. More than two-thirds of his PhD students have gone onto academic careers, and his academic family numbers over 250. Many of those former students are themselves well known in the field and have assumed roles of research and administrative leadership, without a doubt his greatest impact as an educator and researcher.

Gregory has been recognized by ACM as a Fellow, a member of the SIGCHI Academy, recipient of the SIGCHI Social Impact Award, and the ACM Eugene Lawler Humanitarian Award.