AIS SIGPrag 2018 Spring Workshop on Research in Digital Innovation

May 3-4, 2018, Visby, Gotland, Sweden

Campus Gotland – Almedalen
Foto. Mikael Wallerstedt

The Special Interest Group on Pragmatist IS Research (SIGPrag) facilitates idea exchange around information technology in the context of practice. The spring workshop, co-organized with Digital Innovation Gotland and partially funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, brings scholars and practitioners together for focused discussions about practice-based research on design and innovation of digital artifacts, and how to organize collaborative work between practice and academia. The workshop is hosted by the Department of informatics and media at Uppsala university – Campus Gotland. The workshop unfolds over two days as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 – Schedule

Time Place Event
May 3
9:00 – 12:00
E30, Campus Gotland Workshop: Elaborated Action Design Science Research
Matthew Mullarkey, researcher at the University of South Florida, presents an approach to methodological innovation in collaboration between academia and practice.
May 3
13:00 – 17:00
E22, Campus Gotland Presentations and Panel discussion: Collaboration between Academia and Practice (CAP)
Invited guests from academia and practice share their experiences and views on collaborative work. Register here no later than April 15.
May 4
09:00 – 17:00
E30, Campus Gotland Day 2 – Research Review & Recommendations (R3) session
Invited scholars meet up to discuss and develop ongoing research.

Each activity is described in detailed below.

Thursday, May 3, 09:00 – 12:00
An Elaborated Action Design Science Research approach to the conduct of Data Science Projects
This workshop, hosted by Matthew Mullarkey from University of South Florida, introduces Elaborated Action Design Science Research (eADR) – an exceptional approach to the iterative art and science of identifying competitive intelligence for business in big data. Conducting Data Science (DS) projects is much more than merely deploying DS tools or visualization techniques. It is also much more than data cleansing and warehousing. A robust DS project approach requires a methodical progression from diagnosing to designing to implementation of automated systems for mining and sharing insights for dynamic databases. This workshop will share the evolution and definition of an eADR for DS method that’s gone through four cohorts iteration at a Fortune 100 global contract manufacturer with over 24 DS projects and more than 125 deliverables. The workshop is open to invited guests only.

Thursday, May 3, 13:00 – 17:00
Collaboration between Academia and Practice (CAP) session
The session is a series of presentations from practitioners and researchers as shown in Table 2. The presentations revolve around benefits of – and potential obstacles for – innovation in collaboration between practice and academia. The day concludes with a panel discussion including all presenters.

Table 2 – Presenters/panelists from practice and academia

Presenter Organization
Peter Andersson IT Strategist and reflective practitioner at Svenska Spel, a gaming company fully owned by the Swedish government, with the dual task to provide gaming as well as to counter gaming problems.
Kieran Conboy Professor in Business Information Systems in the School of Business & Economics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Co-Principal Investigator in the Lero Irish software research center.
Shirley Gregor Professor of Information Systems, Director CBE Innovation Hub, ANU College of Business and Economics, Canberra, Australia
Therése Kullåker Business developer at Region Gotland and coordinator of the strategic collaboration between Region Gotland and Uppsala University.
Mikael Wiberg Professor of Human-computer Interaction and Head of the Department of Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden.

The CAP session is open to the public, however, a registration is required.

Friday, May 4, 09:00 – 17:00
Research Review & Recommendations (R3) Session.

The second day provides constructive scientific and editorial feedback to the authors of research articles. The aim is to promote the production of high-quality journal articles. Authors present their papers, followed by a developmental discussion where senior scholars and other authors provide developmental feedback. Each paper will have at least one designated discussant. For each paper, there will be a short presentation (max 10 minutes) and a thorough discussion (30 minutes).

Invited authors send their draft papers/extended abstracts no later than February 10 to Additional dates and submission details are found below.

Thematic Focus

This workshop emphasizes pragmatist perspectives on information systems research. The focus is on “Research in Digital Innovation,” i.e., an emphasis on digital artifacts as embedded in social practices and carriers of meaning and agency in such practices. It also emphasizes the innovative nature of designing new artifacts and inducing change in practices. The workshop acknowledges different sub-themes within this broad workshop theme:

  • Processes of innovation and design of digital artifacts and practices
  • Ways to conceptualize and describe practices
  • Ways to conceptualize and describe digital artifacts
  • Ways to research practice-based design and innovation of digital artifacts

We pay special attention to concerns in contemporary design-oriented research approaches and intervention-based research. For details, see the section “Pragmatist Information Systems Research” below.

Dates and submission details

  • Indication of interest: January 10, 2018
  • Extended abstract/draft paper: February 10, 2018
  • Notification: February 20, 2018
  • Final manuscripts: April 1, 2018
  • Workshop: May 3-4, 2018

Please use the SIGPrag format example when submitting your final manuscripts.

Workshop co-chairs

Pragmatist Information Systems Research

There have been many calls in the information systems (IS) community for a stronger pragmatic focus. An increasing number of scholars and practitioners call for research approaches and methods that emphasize contribution to practice and collaboration between the practice and academia. Action research, which aims for knowledge development through collaboration and intervention in real settings, is achieving more and more academic credibility (Baskerville & Myers, 2004; Davison et al., 2004). Similarly, design science research aims for the generation of new and useful artifacts (Hevner et al., 2004; Gregor & Jones, 2007). Research through evaluation has had a long and venerable place in IS research (Ward et, 1996; Serafeimidis & Smithson, 2003). Several approaches and frameworks that combine or integrate elements from the approaches mentioned above have also emerged. Examples include practice research (Goldkuhl, 2011), collaborative practice research (Mathiassen, 2002), practical science (Gregor, 2008), engaged scholarship (Mathiassen & Nielsen, 2008), action design research (Sein et al., 2011) and technical action research (Wieringa & Morali, 2012). Underlying these different approaches is a quest for practical relevance of the conducted research (Benbasat & Zmud, 1999; Van de Ven, 2007; Wieringa, 2010) and an interest to reach genuine impact in practice (Seidel & Watson, 2014; Nunamaker et al; 2015; Te’eni et al, 2017). It is not enough to only “mirror” the world through descriptions and explanations, but a pragmatic orientation recognizes intervention and design as a way of knowing and a means for building knowledge about social and institutional phenomena (Aakhus, 2007). There is a need for knowledge of other epistemic kinds that contribute more clearly to the improvement of IS practices.

The pragmatist approach manifests as an increasing interest in the conceptualization of practices, activities, agency, and actions. Practice theorizing has gained increased attention in IS studies (Orlikowski, 2008; Leonardi, 2011). Several authors paid interest in agency-oriented and action-oriented theories in IS for quite some time. Well-known examples include activity theory (Nardi, 1996), structuration theory (Orlikowski, 1992), social action theorizing (Hirschheim et al., 1996), human agency theorizing (Boudreau & Robey, 2005) and language action perspective (Winograd & Flores, 1986). Researchers also paid interest in social and pragmatic views of the IT artifact (Aakhus & Jackson, 2005). Such an interest includes views of the IT artifact as contextually embedded and carriers of those social contexts (Orlikowski & Iacono, 2001) and as tools for action and communication (Ågerfalk, 2003; Markus & Silver, 2008).

This enhanced practice and action orientation follows a growing awareness among IS scholars towards pragmatism as a research foundation (e.g., Goles & Hirschheim, 2000; Ågerfalk, 2010; Goldkuhl, 2012). It is not the case that IS scholars suddenly become pragmatists in their research orientation. There is move from an implicit pragmatism to an explicit one (Goldkuhl, 2012). For a long time IS scholars have addressed practical problems of interest for improvement. That interest has led to the extensive development of methods, models and useful frameworks for not only the design of IT artifacts but also related to several other IS phenomena, e.g., innovation management, business process management, project management, IT service management just to mention a few. These methods actually reveal an on-going search for knowledge of other epistemic kinds for advancing understanding of information technology, information systems, and practice. Pragmatism – and its view of inquiry as a theory of knowledge (Dewey, 1938) – is a philosophical foundation for intervention-based research (Baskerville & Myers, 2004; Sjöström, 2010). Indeed, Constantinides et al. (2012, p. 1) propose “practical questions for all IS researchers to consider in making choices about relevant topics, design and execution, and representation of findings in their research.” The evolving design science research discourse (Hevner et al., 2004; Sein et al., 2011; Gregor & Hevner, 2013; Iivari, 2014; Venable et al., 2016) are also more or less explicitly founded in a pragmatist tradition.


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