Knowledge Worker Productivity

Knowlege Worker Proctivity Image

What insights about people and technology are needed to develop metrics that can be used to measurably increase the productivity of knowledge workers?


As technology evolved, workplace systems and practices also evolved, shaping how people engage, work, and communicated with others. At mediaX, we were interested in the future of knowledge worker productivity and sponsored groundbreaking research activities focused on exploring the impact that technology has on the workplace. This initiative was in response to the intense global competition fueled by exponential technology growth that is reshaping industries across sectors.


The Internet leveled the playing field for people to gain access to information. However, a serious productivity gap existed between available knowledge and how it is used. It was no longer enough to have specialized skills, if those skills are not utilized based on context. Unfortunately, many enterprises and organizations failed to fully engage the energy and intellect of the employees they compete to attract and retain. This was problematic, as these underused knowledge workers felt less motivated to innovate, and therefore feel deterred from using their knowledge more creatively. At the same time, this challenge also created an opportunity for enterprises and organizations to understand how to capture, process, and use knowledge creatively.

Research Initiatives

Jeremy Bailenson: Detecting States of Mind Through Non-verbal Behavior Using the Microsoft Kinect

Rhiju Das: EteRNA: Accelerating Knowledge Creation for RNA Bioengineering through Internet-Scale Gaming

Carol Dweck: Supporting Self Regulation for Online Course Students

Martin Fischer: Leveraging Team Information Interactions to Reveal Project Workflows

Pamela Hinds: Creativity and Culture: Understanding Team Creativity and What Fosters It

Kincho Law: A Journey from Islands of Knowledge to Mutual Understanding in Global Business Meetings

Larry Leifer: Interaction Using Situated Spatial Gestures

The Late Clifford Nass: Designing Technologies that Mediate Human Social Interaction: Strategies for Effective Cooperation and Collaboration

Roy Pea: The Utility of Calming Technologies in Integrative Productivity

Allan Reiss: Finding Behavioral and Neural Signatures for Collective Creativity in Groups

Under the Knowledge Worker Productivity Research Theme, projects sponsored earlier by mediaX have provided a foundation of insights needed to transcend disciplinary approaches. They have also helped to increase and measure knowledge-based productivity gains. This is in response to the intense global competition fueled by exponential technology growth that is reshaping the corporate landscape. This research theme is also inspired by the desire for resilience in innovation. By empowering thinkers and doers, tools in collaborative environments allow researchers to share and test their mental models rapidly, and amplify their productivity systematically.