Video conference platforms: A tool to foster collaboration during inter-organizational in vivo simulations
Cecilia Lemus-Martinez, Louise Lemyre, Paul Boutette, Jo Riding, David Riding, Celine Pinsent, Colleen Johnson
Inter-organizational problem solving of emergencies and extreme events are complex research fields where scarce experimental data is available. To address this problem, the Inter-GAP In Vivo System, was developed to run behavioural experiments of complex crisis. The system design and testing included three categories of participants: for pilot testing, first year university students; for theoretical validity, college students engaged in emergency management programs; and for field validity, expert decision makers who managed major crises. A comparative assessment was performed to select the most suitable video conferencing software commercially available, since it was more cost-efficient to acquire a tool already developed and customized it to the experiment needs than it was to design a new one. Software features analyzed were: ease of use, recording capabilities, format delivery options and security. The Inter-GAP In Vivo System setup was implemented on the video conference platform selected. The system performance was evaluated at three levels: technical setup, task design and work flow processes. The actual experimentation showed that the conferencing software is a versatile tool to enhance collaboration between stakeholders from different organizations, due to the audiovisual contact participants can establish, where non verbal cues can be interchanged along the problem solving processes. Potential future system applications include: collaborative and cross – functional training between organizations.