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Creativity and the design of socio-technical processes. Thomas Herrmann Information and Technology Management (IMTM) Institute of Applied Work Science (IAW) University of Bochum www.imtm-iaw.rub.de. Overview. Introduction: Background Semi-structured Modelling case studies

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creativity and the design of socio technical processes

Creativity and the design of socio-technical processes

Thomas Herrmann

Information and Technology Management (IMTM)

Institute of Applied Work Science (IAW)

University of Bochum

www.imtm-iaw.rub.de

overview
Overview
  • Introduction: Background
  • Semi-structured Modelling
  • case studies
  • The socio-technical Walkthrough
  • Socio-technical Walkthrough and Creativity Support
problem we try to solve
Problem, we try to solve …
  • Software has to be developed / configured and to be introduced in an organization; the main goal is to support collaborative work.
  • How can successful adoption and usage be supported?

Integrating the organizational development of work processes and the development and introduction of IT-Support

Helping to develop organizational rules / conventions - PATTERNS -to coordinate the activities

and the usage of the IT-system

Examples: Knowledge Management, Workflow, Library Software, Computer Supported Collaborative Work…

idea for solution

+

=>

Systematically facilitated partici-patory workshops focusing on work activities

Process diagrams

based on semi-structured

modeling notation

Commitments on patterns of coordinated usage

Idea for solution …

Meta-question: How can the creativity of the design of socio-technical solutions be enhanced

aspects of the design of socio technical processes

Concept

of

solution

Aspects of the Design of socio-technical Processes

Work procedures and processes

Features of the technical component

Interplay between technical components

Communication, information flow, cooperation, awareness

Conditions, events, exceptions

Human-computer interaction

Resources, objects

Competences, learning memories

Roles and actors

Commitments, conventions, rhythm

Interests, conflicts, histories

Spatial arrangements; dependencies between actions, objects and roles

aspects of the design of socio technical processes6

Concept

of

solution

Aspects of the Design of socio-technical Processes

Work procedures and processes

Features of the technical component

Interplay between technical components

Communication, information flow, cooperation, awareness

Conditions, events, exceptions

Human-computer interaction

Resources, objects

Competences, learning memories

Roles and actors

Commitments, conventions, rhythm

Interests, conflicts, histories

Spatial arrangements; dependencies between actions, objects and roles

Documentation as Boundary object:

  • enough flexibility with respect to multiple perspectives, informal considerations, extent of details
  • as well as consistency (for the sustainability of decisions)
basic elements of the notation seeme semi structured socio technical modelling method

Role

carries out

Activity

modifies

Is used by

Entity

Basic Elements of the Notation(SeeMe – semi-structured, socio-technical modelling Method)

Mainly duties and rights of persons, teams, organizations  social aspects

Behaviour which leads to change

Ressources which support activities (technology, …)

Further information: SeeMe in a Nutshell

Low threshold – high ceiling

specific structures embedding incompleteness
Specific structuresEmbedding, incompleteness

Documenting knowledge

eliciting

structuring

updating

database

the seeme editor
The SeeMe-Editor

The examples above are produced with the SeeMe-Editor

It is freely available: www.seeme-imtm.de

freedom of decision

Writing a purchase

order

x

x

ordering

Value > 5K

Checking the order

Checking the order

Writing a purchase

order

x

x

ordering

Freedom of decision

assistant

empirical investigation of the stwt explorative case studies
Empirical investigation of the STWT – explorative case studies

Where we were taking part

  • Documenting a print workflow
  • Development of several knowledge management solutions
  • Developing of an organizational solution for using a new library software
  • The introduction of mobile communication devices for logistics services of steel delivery (Spiw-Com)
  • The development of a system to manage the selection of literature from scientific periodicals – and mutual awareness about the topics of interest.
  • Preparing CSCL-courses

Where our method was applied by others

  • A medical practice conducting radiography for diagnosis and treatment: introduction of a new patient information system to support the communication between the administrative personnel and the doctors and in between these groups.
  • Introducing knowledge management in small or midsized enterprises
stwt in practice case study
STWT in practice : Case Study

Supporting the delivery of steel-products

with mobile devices to improve

communication, awareness and

the coordination between

drivers and dispatchers

mobile application
Mobile Application…
  • Communication between drivers and dispatchers happens
    • Early in the morning /in the evening.
    • In irregular cases using cell phones.
  • Paperwork as coordinating artifacts

A mobile application should deliver useful information about

the state of work to both groups.

typical phases of our projects
Typical phases of our projects

Continuous

Documentation

Phase 1: Ethnography

Phase 2: Requirements Elicitation: Workshops using prepared and completing diagrams as models of the current work-processes

Development of Prototypes

Phase 3: Evaluation of the prototypes in relation to organizational structure of the future work processes

Phase 4: Training (the process and the system)

Participants:

2 drivers, 2 dispatchers, manager, software-engineer, facilitator

how to get the models of the solutions intervention through communication in participatory settings
How to get the models of the solutions? – intervention through communication in participatory settings

Intervention through:

  • structured  focused facilitated

continuous  sustainable

… communication and documentation

to integrate social and technical aspects

  • Socio-technical Walkthrough

(STWT)

socio technical walkthrough core elements

Asking

selected questions

Collecting comments, proposals

Developing or discussing models by considering its elements step-by-step

Refocus on the diagram

modifying diagrams, adding material

Aesthetical improvement of diagrams

Socio-technical Walkthrough – Core elements

Task of the facilitator and supporters

Preparing

workshops

Work-

shop 1

Work-

shop 2

Work-

shop n

critical success factors spiw
Critical success factors (Spiw):
  • Finding appropriate questions for the walkthrough
    • relating new work design and current work practice
    • stimulates imagination: Thinking about concrete work situations in the process.
  • Strategies to refocus the contributions (“Can you relate this story to the diagram”)
  • Starting with an appropriate overview
  • Choosing the appropriate level of granularity
  • Aesthetic improvement of modified diagrams without changing their content, the content should still be recallable
  • Sociotechnical Walkthrough: Designing Technology along Work Processes, PDC 2004

The diagrams should be accepted as self-descriptions of the organization and of the expectations towards its roles (Kunau, 2006)

critical success factors cont d knowledge management cases
Critical success factors cont‘d - Knowledge Management Cases
  • The history of the development of a diagram should be comprehensible and therefore be documented or recorded
  • Development and documentation should be intertwined
  • challenge: people have differing rhythms: some want to rapidly continue with design, others use the time of documenting to catch up
  • An extra person (draftsman) is needed to support the facilitator with drawing the diagrams +smooth non-verbal coordination between facilitators and modeler

 Socio-technical Walkthrough (STWT): a means for Knowledge Integration.

controlled experiment two types of groups
Controlled experiment: Two types of groups

Condition

With graphical process models

Condition

Without graphical process models

controlled experiment two types of groups cont d
Controlled experiment: Two types of groupscont’d

Condition

With graphical process models

Condition

Without graphical process models

  • More commitments with respect to the usage of the knowledge management system
  • Higher degree of shared knowledge
  • More intensive use of the systems functions
  • More contributions at all

 Improving the Coordination of Collaborative Learning with Process Models.CSCL 2005

core elements of the stwt
Core elements of the STWT
  • Usage of a semi-structured representation scheme
    • Only few types of elements
    • Multiple relations
    • Nesting
    • Incompleteness indicators: what has to be specified later
  • Step-by-step consideration and intertwining of documentation and discourse on work activities
  • Integrating several perspectives into one type of representation  providing a large picture
  • Facilitator helps to transform contributions into documentation
stwt and creativity
STWT and creativity?
  • semi-structured representation scheme
  • Step-by-step discourse + documentation of work activities
  • Integrating ideas in a large picture
  • Facilitator helps to transform contributions into documentation

Do the core elements of STWT support social creativity?

… help to evolve new ideas, breakthroughs,

of how to introduce and use new technologies

 Barriers have to be overcome on the

Individual level

Group level

creativity
Creativity
  • Emergence of new, appropriate ideas
  • No anticipatable sequence of activities which guarantees them
  • “new” in relation to a particular context (group, organization, domain)
  • “appropriate” in relation to a particular context: needs, challenges, …

Phases:

Data collection

Data combination, variation of combinations

Synthesizing of ideas

Prioritizing of ideas with respect to their appropriateness

Divergence

convergence

individual and group barriers
Individual and group barriers

Individual level:

  • Well established paths of associations
  • Cognitive overload

Group level:

  • „hidden profile problem“ – you prefer what you already know
  • Motivational aspects(getting to an end, following a role model, …)
  • Divergence of perspectives is related to tension, problems of understanding; convergence is harder to achieve
1 semi structured scheme

Advantage

  • Level of abstraction allows more flexibility to include different perspectives
  • New “vocabulary” forces participants to leave habitualized paths of thinking (force-fit)
  • A magnitude of varying combinations are possible
1. semi-structured scheme

Disadvantage

  • Too indirect compared with
    • Sketching
    • natural language
    • touchable object
  • translation work is needed
  • too abstract
  • Increases cognitive load
1 semi structured scheme36

Advantage

  • Level of abstraction allows more flexibility to include different perspectives
  • New “vocabulary” forces participants to leave habitualized paths of thinking (force-fit)
  • A magnitude of varying combinations are possible
1. semi-structured scheme

Disadvantage

  • Too indirect compared with
    • Sketching
    • natural language
    • touchable object
  • translation work is needed
  • too abstract
  • Increases cognitive load

Nesting on different levels

+ Hide and show of sub-elements as well as super-elements

+ Flexible combination of sequenced and non-sequenced activities

infusion of uncertainty and incompleteness
Infusion of uncertainty and incompleteness

SeeMe allows the participants

  • Pars-pro-toto expressions
  • Leaving gaps which are filled in later
  • Rough indication of relationships
  • Meandering between different parts of a concept
  • jumping from one idea to the next without being hindered by requirements of complete specification
infusion of uncertainty and incompleteness38
Infusion of uncertainty and incompleteness

SeeMe allows the participants

  • Pars-pro-toto expressions
  • Leaving gaps which are filled in later
  • Rough indication of relationships
  • Meandering from one idea to the next without being hindered by requirements of complete specification

Problem: Incompleteness

is feasible for communication

but not as basis for control and strong commitments

2 intertwining documentation and discourse

Advantage

Slower people can catch up

Different rhythms of idea flows can be re-synchro-nized during the phases of documentation

Ideas do not get lost and are continuously present

Visible contributions can be a basis for further contributions

2. Intertwining documentation and discourse

Disadvantage

  • Documentation requires additional cognitive load
  • Slows the process of idea finding down

Support of explicit incompleteness as a compromise

individual and collective barriers
Individual and collective barriers

New vocabulary or methods of representation

Individual level:

  • Well established paths of associations
  • Cognitive overload

Group level:

  • „hidden profile problem“ – you prefer what you already know
  • Motivational aspects (getting to an end, following a role model, …)
  • Divergence of perspectives is related to tension, problems of understanding; convergence is harder to achieve

visualization

Facilitation:

Dialogue mapping

Representation:

Multiple way to display relations

conclusion
Conclusion
  • Semi-structured modelling and STWT lead to successful patterns of collaborative usage andhave the potential to support creative design of socio-technical processes

What has to be improved:

  • Strategies / rhythms to intertwine flow of thoughts, communication and documentation
  • Strategies to foster a higher degree of variations and to produce more choices
  • Modifying the modelling method and the editor to allow more directness of expression
  • Still unsolved: How to adjust representation methods to an appropriate balance between directness and adoption of new frames/vocabulary
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