Ten Questions with Chrisanthi Avgerou
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Welcome to the latest edition of our monthly section. In this edition, we interviewed Chrisanthi Avgerou, Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics. More information about Chrisanthi can be found here. ---------------------------------------------------------
Q: What is your most rewarding service activity? And why?
A: I have always enjoyed taking part in Ph.D. consortia. Listening to our best young researchers presenting and debating on ways to make sense of diverse IS topics makes me very optimistic about the future of our field. I also liked the Ph.D. consortia I attended because they were occasions of gentle and truly constructive engagement with our perennial controversies on theory, epistemology and what makes a contribution.
Q: Currently, what is your favorite class to teach? And why?
A: My favorite class to teach is ICT in Humanitarian Emergencies. It’s a topic that builds on my long preoccupation with ICT and development. It gives me the opportunity to share ideas on the possibilities and limitations of our capacity to bring technology to bear on world problems that we don’t normally discuss in our conferences.
Q: What is your favorite saying or quote?
A: Less is more. It’s my rough translation of the Hellenistic saying ουκ εν τω πολλώ το ευ, αλλ’ εν τω ευ το πολύ, which often helped me step back from unmanageable quantities of work, information, etc. It also comes to my mind when I hear about the wonders of even faster processing of even bigger data. I just hope that this fascination with quantity will not diminish human judgement.
Q: What's one trend that you are excited about?
A: The diffusion of mobile phones and the internet in even the poorest communities of the world.
Q: What's one habit that makes you more productive at work?
A: I have not developed such habits, I’m afraid. I tend to take time in everything I do at work. Only deadlines keep me on schedule.
Q: If you were to do it all over again, what would you have done differently?
A: I would have adopted a child. I have a wonderful daughter, but I always admired those who give a home to a child in need. Alas, I didn’t make it happen.
Q: Who has influenced your career?
A: My mentor Frank Land and my amazing friend Claudio Ciborra. Rob Kling and Enid Mumford inspired me in the early years of my career. John King continues to be an invaluable influence and I am lucky to have his guidance in my teaching and research on ICT in humanitarian emergencies and development.
Q: What is your favorite memory at an AIS event (ICIS/AMCIS) or affiliated conference (ECIS/PACIS/etc.)?
A: Strolling in the streets of Napoli with dear friends and colleagues after the ECIS 2003 dinner.
Q: What is something very few people know about you?
A: I paint. There is a good reason people don’t know about it. It’s not good enough for public display. I wish I could be better in expressing things in color.
Q: Who would you like to see answer these questions next? And what would you like to see his/her thoughts on?
Ulrike Schultze. I had the good chance to work with her for the organization of ECIS 2014 in Tel Aviv and I admired her clarity of thought and sense of what matters. I would like to know what such a perceptive and competent IS scholar thinks are the most challenging issues of our field.
Prepared by the AIS Membership Subcommittee on Doctoral Studies
Ryan Wright, University of Massachusetts
Geoffrey Dick, Georgia Southern University
Arturo Castellanos, Florida International University
For questions about this series or suggestions of who you would like to see interviewed, please contact Ryan Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org).