February 6th, 2007

Brian and Anne

Tonight: MOCHI Talk, 6-8:30 at the school of Information

MOCHI, in collaboration with the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW), present:

Thomas Herrmann
Professor of Information and Technology Management, University of Bochum, Germany

Creativity and the design of socio-technical processes
6pm - 8:30pm Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Ehrlicher Room, 411 West Hall
University of Michigan, School of Information

While process management strategies mainly focus on incremental improvement and workflow management support, the design perspective includes possibilities of fundamental change and all kinds of IT-based support for collaborative processes. We focus on building the bridge between technology development and usage with a method of systematic communication facilitation – the socio-technical walkthrough (STWT). It is run in participatory workshops where software-engineers and other stakeholders are brought together. The STWT employs a semi-structured modeling method to continuously visualize the proposed solutions with diagrams as well as their evolution. In a controlled experiment with 24 students, the combination of systematic facilitation and diagrams has proved as more successful than classical methods (text on cards, pin boards, or flipcharts). Our observations in several practical cases reveal limits and potentials with respect to the enhancement of creativity. A variety of factors such as different cognitive abilities, motivation, rhythms, communication behavior, dealing with incompleteness, varying granularity of details etc. are relevant to understand the effects on the divergence and convergence of ideas in a design workshop. It is discussed how we can support the emergence of new choices (instead of only making choices) for socio-technical solutions of collaborative work processes.

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Please see the MOCHI site for information about the group.