Contact Information

Werner Geyer
Research Manager, The Data Science User Experience Team
Cambridge Research Center, Cambridge, MA USA

Welcome to my IBM Research profile page. My main research areas are Human Computer Interaction, Social Software, Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, and Recommender Systems. I am working as a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research lab in Cambridge in the Collaborative User Experience group. I am also part of the Center for Social Software.

My current research focuses on social software in the enterprise. I am particularliy interested in mechanisms to engage user communities. I've been leveraging concepts from recommender and incentive systems to build novel systems to engage users. My research involves designing, implementing, and deploying novel systems but also measuring success through quantitative and qualitative analysis of usage data. I work closely with product groups at IBM Lotus and over the years, our research has shaped products such as Lotus Connections or Lotus Notes. Sometimes this happens through simple designs and ideas, sometimes through results from trial deployement of novel systems, other times entire systems and code are being transferred.

Past Projects


Beehive is an internal social networking site that gives IBMers a "rich connection to the people they work with" on both a personal and a professional level. Beehive helps employees make new connections, track current friends and coworkers, and renew contacts with people they have worked with in the past. We created the site to help IBM employees meet the challenge of building the relationships vital to working in large, distributed enterprises today. Beehive has more than 50,000 users and is our internal playground to understand and measure the value of social software for an enterprise.


Malibu is a personal productivity assistant that provides peripheral access to and awareness of activities, tasks, social-bookmarks, and feeds to assist knowledge workers in their activity-centric work. This project was logical continuation of my work on Activity Explorer.

Activity Explorer

I designed and built Activity Explorer (AE) together with the AE research team as part of my work on new Instant Collaboration techniques in the context of the Reinventing Email projects in Cambridge. Activity Explorer is a novel hybrid productivity application that combines informal, ad hoc communication with formal, more structured collaboration tools. The two key ingredients of Activity Explorer are Live Shared Objects and Activities. The basic idea behind Activities and Activity-Centric Collaboration is simple: Reorganize collaboration to reflect the work being done, rather than the technologies that support the work. This new collaboration paradigm integrates collaboration technologies horizontally through the concept of a work activity. An activity can be considered a logical unit of work that incorporates all the tools and resources to get the job done. Representing an activity explicitly aids knowledge workers in capturing and rapidly switching work contexts. I had been working on AE for more than three years as inventor and architect. AE went rapidly through several iterations from research prototype to product including several formal evaluations. AE has provided the foundation and seed for IBM's next generation of activity-centric collaboration products. There are multiple publications on this topic and also a short summary on the web site of IBM Research in Cambridge.


As a post-doc at IBM T.J. Watson Research in Hawthorne, NY, I worked closely with a team at Boeing Mathematics and Computing Technology and Georgia Institute of Technology, on a system called TeamSpace, which captures and provides access to virtual meetings. Unlike VCR-like recordings of meetings, this system provides a fully indexed record of a meeting. The record is a visualized timeline of the meeting based on user interactions with objects such as agendas, action items, presentations, and bookmarks. The system helps relate knowledge from past meetings to current team activities. For example, a team member can create an action item, create a meeting to work on the action item with the group, and then save the action item at the end of the meeting, making the item available for other meetings.

Before IBM

I hold a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Mannheim in Germany, located near the city of Heidelberg. My research there focused on designing an electronic whiteboard tailored to eLearning. I also earned an MS in Information Technology, which combines Computer Science and Business Administration, from the University of Mannheim.