I have returned from the conference in Austria (yes, Lotus Notes is everywhere... even on the laptop of the guy next to me on the plane... so yes, I did another Contextual Inquiry session on the plane. The dude's first comment when I said I was working on a redesign of Notes : "Oh, GOOD!")
I do not know the actual demographic breakdown of the attendees, but my interactions were with Austrians, Germans, Dutch, Norwegians, One guy from the Czech republic, one French business partner.
I don't recall speaking to anyone from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, the Middle East, or North Africa. Why is that? I've noticed it at Lotusphere as well, that is, the representation from Northern Europe seems to far outweigh that of Southern Europe.
One theory - it's the cultures of the countries themselves that make Notes more or less popular or deployable.
I've read various books from Intercultural Press, (including "Encountering the Chinese"and "Cross-Cultural Dialogs") and the books I've read have introduced the (probably oversimplification) of "high-context cultures" and "low context cultures." See Wurtz for a good synopsis of the two terms and an interesting study of the web vis a vis these 2 culture dimensions. Particularly look at her diagram that indicates Scandinavian and German countries are the "lowest of the low context cultures" (Which I interpret to mean that Germans bascially mean what they say and you don't have to interpret too many meta- messages of silence, looks, body language, etc.) and Japan is the "highest of the high context cultures" (which I interpret to mean that the meta-message in a Japanese interaction might be THE message, e.g. body language, facial expressions, pauses).
So. I've been thinking that Lotus Notes (and computer-supported cooperative work in general) still does not support collaboration in high-context cultures because it still does not deliver enough of the context. What do you think of my hypothesis? Agree or disagree and why? What evidence do you have to support or disprove it?
What, besides the real-time aspects of audio and video (hum, maybe they do not have to be real-time) can be added to Lotus Notes to better support high-context cultures? (But Sametime 2.0 had Audio and video back in about 1999 but almost nobody deployed it...)
( ... this is not an open request for new features in Hannover... it's more of a future/research request)
And now, to throw a monkey wrench into the whole hypothesis... I've been told that Japan is one of the bigger user of Lotus Notes! Explain that!