This site hosts the BOOK and the BLOG on improvising IS design. It deals with how we can approach the emergent design of information systems that span organizational and disciplinary boundaries. This work is motivated by the desire to ensure that technology design is human-centered, supporting people in their work rather than impeding their effectiveness.

IS-related organizational innovation deals with wicked problems, where many business process and information management problems are interrelated. Wicked problems are impossible to define objectively: we need to involve diverse stakeholders in negotiating suitable problem definitions and boundaries for change. Our lack of understanding about how to establish a “common language” for this type of design means that information system innovation tends to be pretty hit-and-miss. Most design initiatives spend more time arguing about process definitions than achieving change.

The focus of IS design has moved “upstream” of the waterfall model, from technical design to the co-design of business-processes and IT systems. Technology-centered design methods no longer work. This site aims to challenge the status quo, It will explore what we know about how people design business processes, systems of work, systems of technology, and human-centered artifacts. It will examine the differences between individual and group understanding -- and how we can translate those differences into ways of managing design. It will tackle the thorny problem of distributed knowledge in design: how you get at knowledge that is spread over a variety of people (especially when you don't know where to start).

Thoughts and announcements are discussed inthe BLOG. I will be adding to this site as I develop chapters for the book. I will post initial versions of the chapters here for discussion. Come back and visit regularly!

About The Site

This website is maintained by Susan Gasson, Associate Professor of Information Science & Technology at Drexel University, Philadelphia PA. It is motivated by the desire to ensure that technology design is human-centered, supporting people in their work rather than impeding their effectiveness. It is also driven by a fascination with how we solve wicked problems.

Eventually, this will be the blog of the book, Improvising Design (working title).  As this is a new project, the design of the blog is also improvisational … The blog is at http://blog.improv-design.com. There is not much content there, yet(!) – I expect to update that site monthly.

I would especially like to thank the National Science Foundation, who funded the research on which the book is based. [1]

Website Copyright Statement

All materials on this site are Copyright © Susan Gasson, Improvising Design, 2009-2010.

You may download to a local hard disk and print extracts from this blog and website for your personal use only.  You may also recopy downloaded extracts to others provided that such copy is accurate, not misleading, acknowledges Susan Gasson or Improvising Design Blog as its source and you do not do so for profit.

Save as expressly permitted above or otherwise expressly agreed in writing, all use and reproduction of any material on this site or any incorporation of the same into any other material, in whatever media or format, is strictly prohibited. Please contact Susan Gasson for permission to use these materials in any other way.

Copyright © Susan Gasson, Improvising Design.

Contact details: Dr. Susan Gasson, the iSchool, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19104
Email: sgasson_AT_drexel.edu (replace _AT_ with @ sign).

[1] The research reported here is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0347595. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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