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Zer Netmouse
February 6th, 2007
03:18 pm


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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.

Thomas Herrmann is a professor of Information and Technology Management at the Institute of Applied Work Science (IAW), University of Bochum, Germany since 2004, and a fellow of the Electrical Engineering Department. Current research interests include design methods for socio-technical systems in the areas of knowledge management, (work-)process management, computer supported collaborative learning, and concepts of social software for innovation support. He teaches courses in Groupware, Knowledge Management, Socio-technical systems Design, Information Systems and Privacy, Human-Computer Interaction, Organizational Communication, and Process Management.

He was an Associate Professor from 1992- 2004 at the Computer Science Department at the University of Dortmund and was in charge of the development of infrastructure and new media for the University of Dortmund as a vice president from 2002-2004. He holds a PhD in Computer Science of the Technical University of Berlin (1986) and a Master of Art in Communication Science of the University of Bonn (1983).

Please see the MOCHI site for information about the group.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:February 7th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
wow, if I were in Michigan, I'd so be right there. This is very much the kind of work that I'm best at, and it's also been one of the hardest things to conceptualize and describe in a way that makes sense. I'm definitely going to follow up on some of Hermann's other work.
Date:February 7th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
That is interesting stuff. Thanks for pointing it out. On a completely tangential note - University of Bochum?! My Dad was born in Bochum!
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