Team CDE – Dr Paula Dootson

Dr Paula Dootson is a Chief Investigator with the Centre for the Digital Economy and academic within the the QUT Business School. Paula joined the CDE team in November 2016, acquiring herself the nickname Dr Deviance. Find out why below, as we sit down with Paula (at 1.5 metres apart) to discuss her research and thoughts on the digital economy.

What is your research focus? 

My research focuses on understanding why everyday people engage in deviant behaviour (e.g., non-compliant, illegal, non-normative behaviour) and find ways to design it out through human, system, or policy interventions. Where appropriate, I explore ways to encourage positive deviance – from redesigning a process to civil disobedience – if it leads to greater social or economic benefits. I have investigated deviance across a number of contexts like retail, emergency management, record-keeping, tax collection, fraud and scams, and copyright infringement.

What excites you most about the digital economy?

The opportunities not previously afforded in an analog or digitised age. And of course, by opportunities I also mean the opportunities for deviance!

Are you an optimist or pessimist about the future?

I am a realistic pessimist because they live longer than optimists. I believe there are enough powers on either side of issues and technology advancement to ensure progress in democratic societies is sufficiently incremental enough to work through the challenges without completely stifling the benefits.

Finish this sentence: In 2050, there will be…

In the year 2050 there will be a flatter structure to society, politicians will no longer exist because citizens vote on policies and issues not on people, we will be recovering from the first space war, we will be living far more sustainably, middle-aged-white-men might only just be making their comeback to society’s good graces.

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