Visitor from Hong Kong with Orange County Ties — To Investigate Knowledge Transfer through Games

From June 2013 through May 2014, ISR is hosting Prof. Christian Wagner, on invitation by his ISR faculty host Prof. Walt Scacchi.  Wagner is Chair Professor of Social Media and Associate Provost at the City University of Hong Kong, where he also oversees innovation related initiatives, such as CityU’s Idea Incubator.  Glad to take a semi-break from his administrative duties—Christian also served as Associate Dean at CityU’s School of Creative Media until May 2013—he is looking forward to recharging his research agenda in online games, social media, and collective intelligence.  Wagner’s academic background includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in industrial engineering, followed by a Ph.D. in management information systems. ISR Prof. Walt Scacchi hosts Visitor Prof. Christian Wagner  After many years as a business faculty member, both at the University of Southern California and at CityU, Wagner decided to transfer to CityU’s School of Creative Media, to embark on a new research adventure by engaging with artist scholars.

While a faculty member in Hong Kong, Wagner is also a long-time bi-continental resident, living in Orange County and Hong Kong. Orange County has also been the location of a VC backed start-up company he co-founded more than a decade ago to develop enterprise planning software. 

Wagner chose to visit UCI and ISR for several reasons. First, he was eagerly looking forward to re-connecting with former colleague Walt Scacchi, whom he describes as one of the most creative and broadly knowledgeable individuals he knows. While Scacchi and Wagner exchanged research ideas for many years, they never collaborated on publishing research studies together. So this will be the time. Second, UCI has emerged as a powerhouse in research and teaching on computer games virtual worlds, and all aspects of software research.  Wagner’s research in software engineering has focused on software maintenance and the effectiveness of user developed applications.  He is also proud to say that CityU’s School of Creative Media recently hired ISR alumnus Yong Ming Kow, who in 2011 received his Ph.D. from UCI’s Department of Informatics as a student of ISR’s Bonnie Nardi.  Third, Orange County has been attracting game software companies from start-ups to mature firms, which actively engage with ISR. Wagner is looking forward to participating in the idea exchange between practice and academia at UCI. 

While at UCI, Wagner has several goals. He plans to explore the ability of computer games, and virtual worlds in general, to transfer especially tacit knowledge, expanding on the theme of one of his presentations “All I need to know about business I learned in World of Warcraft.” He also plans to extend his research on collective intelligence expressed through social media activity, as illustrated in his work “Tell me which Wikipedia pages you read and I tell you who will win the next election.”  Plus he hopes to further his work on the use of social media to facilitate major purchasing decisions under the theme “buying physical and digital assets sight unseen based on collective intelligence drawn from social media.”  Finally, he seeks to complete a project on open collaboration using wikis. 

“I feel very fortunate to be at UCI and I look forward to learning from, and sharing ideas with UCI colleagues,”  says Wagner. “I also hope this visiting appointment helps intensify future collaboration between UCI and CityU.”  

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: