5th ACM International Conference on
Collaboration Across Boundaries: Culture, Distance & Technology Kyoto, Japan, August 20-22, 2014

Keynote Speakers

CABS 2014 will feature three keynote speakers!

August 21, 2014
Mary Yoko Brannen

Jarislowsky CAPI East Asia (Japan) Chair,
Professor of International Business, University of Victoria

Title: Language, Culture and Boundary-Spanning: Pushing the Frontiers of Research on Global Learning and Innovation

Building an integrated global strategy for ongoing growth and renewal across markets which are geographically remote and have differing native languages and cultures is undoubtedly harder than classical scholars of business strategy have cared to understand or admit. While our cumulative knowledge of the role of organizational learning in internationalization is considerable, it has generally been seen as knowledge transmitted from the home-organizational base to subsidiaries abroad. As such, current theories take little account of the capacity of the organizations to reverse the one-way vector of learning emanating from headquarters in order to learn endogenously, as it were, from knowledge resources available at the periphery and throughout its global reach. A major reason why theory has not advanced further in documenting and thus realizing the mechanisms by which firms can learn from their global footprint is that the methodologies used have been ineffective as they tend to take a “bird’s eye” view of phenomena when what is needed is an “up-close” and contextually-grounded approach. In this keynote speech, Professor Mary-Yoko Brannen will discuss new avenues for research methods that facilitate the understanding of complex, micro level contextually embedded phenomena where research settings are rife with multilevel cultural interactions. Integrating current research on the multifaceted nature of language used in global organizations and the boundary-spanning skillsets that bi- and multi-cultural individuals bring to today’s workforce, Professor Brannen will discuss new methods for researchers as well as practitioners to positively influence global learning and innovation outcomes.


Mary Yoko Brannen is the Jarislowsky East Asia (Japan) Chair at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) and Professor of International Business at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and serves as Deputy Editor of the Journal of International Business. She received her M.B.A. with emphasis in International Business and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior with a minor in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the Lucas Graduate School of Business at San Jose State University, the Haas Business School at the University of California at Berkeley, Smith College, and Stanford University in the United States; Keio Business School in Tokyo, Japan, and Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Professor Brannen’s expertise in cross-cultural management is evident in her research, consulting, teaching, and personal background. Born and raised in Japan, having studied in France and Spain, and having worked as a cross-cultural consultant for over 25 years to various Fortune 100 companies, she brings a multi-faceted, deep knowledge of today’s complex cultural business environment. Her consulting specialty is in helping multinational firms realize their global strategic initiatives by aligning, integrating and deploying critical organizational resources. Professor Brannen’s current research projects include research on knowledge sharing across distance and differentiated contexts, directing a global think tank focusing on biculturals and people of mixed cultural origins as the new workplace demographic, and developing strategic ethnography as a method by which global companies can realize sustainable competitive advantage.

August 22, 2014
Apala Lahiri Chavan

Global Chief of Technical Staff, HFI
CEO - Institute of Customer Experience

Title: Cross Cultural Research, Innovation and Design in 2050

Cross Cultural Research , Innovation and Design has been my passion for many years and I never thought I would have a question like this! But as I have been envisioning what the future of user experience is going to be like , I am beginning to wonder if there will be ‘cross cultural’ anything left in 2050? Will we live in an universe where transhumans and humanoid robots make up the population? An universe where we have ‘evolved’ to become much more powerful as individuals but very homogenous and hence the concept of ‘across cultures’ will cease to exist? OR, will 2050 see the opposite reality…where every single human / transhuman / humanoid robot is different and hence cross cultural research, innovationand design will be the most sought after discipline?


Apala is a world-renowned expert on cross cultural design and contextual innovation. Her innovative and pioneering techniques have benefitted global giants such as HP Labs, Adidas, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, NCR, and Intel, among others. She is also recepient of the International Audi Design Award.

She is also a dynamic and creative instructor and author. Her keynote talks on contextual innovation, ecosystem research, internationalization, and designing for emerging markets have received acclaim in USA, Canada, Europe, India, and China. She has developed a vast array of data-gathering techniques such as Bollywood Method, Bizarre Bazaar, and Funky Facilitator, which help understand the user experience in diverse cultural and economic environments. She and her team pioneered the “Ecosystem Chart” that organizes vast amounts of ethnographic data into a coherent model.

Apala also specializes in creating UX strategy for organizations who are looking at creating breakthrough user experience for their customers and other stakeholders. Some of her recent projects include:

Apala has been with HFI since 1999 as Managing Director, HFI India, and VP, HFI Asia, Chief Oracle and Innovator before assuming her current role. In addition to her usability certifications (CUA and CXA), Apala holds an MSc with distinction in User Interface Design from London Guildhall University. She is also a TEDx speaker. Her TEDx Talk is titled 'Three Laws of UX': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiwjplU6kAc

August 22, 2014
Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Professor, Section of Language and Intelligence, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University,
President of the International Primatological Society

Title: Evolution of Human Mind and Culture Viewed From the Study of Chimpanzees

I have studied chimpanzees both in the wild and in the laboratory. My talk illustrates the evolutionary origins of human mind and culture. The human mother–infant relationship is characterized by physical separation, and the stable supine posture of infants; enabling face-to-face communication via facial expressions, vocal exchange, and manual gestures, and also demonstration of object manipulation. I have used the novel ‘participant observation’ method in the laboratory and through “field experiments” in their natural habitat. There are several critical differences between the two species: chimpanzees lack the social referencing ability observed in human children and chimpanzees seldom engage in active teaching. Moreover, although young chimpanzees showed unique working memory capacity, often superior to that of human adults, they are less able to learning symbols. In sum, mind and culture in humans is fundamentally influenced by the manner of raising young children; characterized by collaboration among multiple adults. This aspect of human rearing may be linked to the development of empathy, altruistic behavior, reciprocity, understanding others’ minds, and so on. Taken together, my talk presents evolutionary and ontogenetic explanations for the uniquely human cognition and culture. For further information, please visit the following web site: http://langint.pri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ai/


Tetsuro Matsuzawa is a Professor at the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. Matsuzawa studies chimpanzee cognition both in the laboratory and in the wild. The Ai project began in 1978 with research on language-like skills and number concepts in a female chimpanzee named Ai. The focus is now on the cultural transmission of knowledge, skills, and values, across generations, in a group of chimpanzees living in a semi-natural setting. Recent studies from this research project have demonstrated that young chimpanzees have an extraordinary working memory; often better than that of humans. Matsuzawa has achieved parallel progress in both laboratory work and fieldwork. Research on the behavior of wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat has been carried out in Bossou-Nimba, Guinea, West Africa, since 1986. Researchers at the site have documented the use of a pair of mobile stones as hammer and anvil to crack open oil-palm nuts, and have examined hand preference, critical periods in development, education by master-apprenticeship, and cultural variation across adjacent communities. Matsuzawa’s many publications include: “Primate origins of human cognition and behavior” (2001), “Cognitive development in chimpanzees” (2006), “The mind of the chimpanzee” (2010), “Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba” (2011). He received the Jane Goodall Award in 2001, the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor, and the Person of Cultural Merit in 2013 (awarded by the Government of Japan for exceptional academic contribution). He is the current President of the International Primatological Society.