What is life without an intention?
I believe in the power of setting an intention and seeing where it takes you. Being more abstract than a goal, an intention can guide you and allow the flexibility of taking different paths. In the last semester of my master’s degree in Tourism Management, I set my intention of contributing to the human side of digital transformation. Humans and technology co-create the present and the future. I firmly believe that digital transformation is not just about technology, it is about how it strategically works together with (and for) humans.
Why would I set that intention when studying tourism? In the first semester of the Erasmus Mundus European Master in Tourism Management, I led a project on Big Data as an open innovation source to accelerate innovation in the tourism ecosystem. This research project opened my eyes to the amazing world of emerging technologies, open innovation, and sustainable development. Then, I wrote my master’s thesis about Intelligent automation and robotics in the service sector and the job transformation it brings. My goal was to understand how can tech start-ups develop Intelligent automation solutions that contribute to sustainable development’s socio-economic sphere. I got so many interesting insights from this research! By interviewing start-ups members and policymakers, I could have the perspectives of two actors that seem crucial for the ethical development of technology. I wanted to continue this research journey, and when I found the EINST4INE project I thought it was the perfect opportunity.
How can I be part of the human side of digital transformation? By investigating robots from a social approach and bringing new perspectives of human-robot interaction. I believe in research that can make a difference in how technology is used and how it affects humans. This is why I want to fill some knowledge gaps and contribute to the strategic introduction and implementation of social robots. In the end, social robots should enhance humans’ interactions, not diminish them.
What is knowledge for if not for sharing it and putting it into practice? I think it is very important to disseminate all the findings, theories, and whatever we think might help someone. We have to share it, mostly with young generations because that is where the hope is placed right now (at least mine). So, at some point, I might also be teaching about the human side of digital transformation hoping to have an impact on future decision-makers.
What kind of robots am I going to investigate? Social robots, for example, Mobile telepresence robots (MTRs) allow people to communicate remotely and have a physical presence. These robots are changing organizational dynamics, work practices and processes, occupations, and challenging the psycho-social factors in organizations. In the following years, I will be studying robots from a social approach and aiming to ultimately help people to use social robots in a way that benefits humans.
My host is Aarhus University, in the Department of Business Development and Technology located in Herning, Denmark, a very cozy little town. I am part of the Advanced Interdisciplinary Research on Organisational Development (AIROD) and supervised by Sladjana Nørskov. I am very grateful to be part of the Aarhus University team and to have Sladjana guiding me through this path. Also, I am collaborating with our industry partner Blue Ocean Robotics which offers professional service robots mainly in healthcare and hospitality. Exciting research stays abroad are coming, but that would be the topic for another blog post.
I am very happy to have set that intention that brought me to where I am now. Let’s see what the future brings!