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[Design Science] What exactly do (or should) we design? A talk by Prof. Dr. Maung Sein





It is our great pleasure to announce that Prof. Dr. Maung sein is our guest speaker on Thursday the 3rd of March from 12.00 - 13:00 Oslo timezone.

Zoom link: https://kristiania.zoom.us/j/62498286051?pwd=emdFT1F0aGF3UTFZY1JwUUVPZGlrQT09

Maung is one of the prominent names in the Information Research landscape, one of the founding fathers of Action Design Research (ADR) method and is the recipient of the prestigious AIS Fellow Award, in recognition of his career and contributions to the Information Systems discipline. Maung will deliver a talk on Artefact Design titled “What exactly do (or should) we design?

The talk is relevant to active researchers, Master and PhD students from all disciplines. Maung will also provide 1 hour (13:00 to 14:00) to answer specific questions or provide recommendations to Master and PhD students’ ideas and research methods, and the discussions can be one-on-one in breakout rooms. So please prepare your questions! Please see below for an overview of the talk, and Maung’s brief bio.


Maung K. Sein is a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, University of South-Eastern University and School for Economics, Innovation, and Technology, Kristiania University College, both in Norway. After working in practice, he earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University, USA. In a nomadic academic career spanning 33 years, he has served at several universities in USA, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and Finland as permanent faculty, visiting professor or visiting scholar. He has conducted research in a variety of areas: end-user training, systems development and data-modelling, e-Government and ICT for Development (ICT4D). He has published extensively in, among others, MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, The Information Society, and Information Systems Journal. He has extensive editorial experience in the IS area, including Senior Editor of Journal of AIS, Associate editor at MIS Quarterly, MISQ Executive, Information Systems Journal, and guest-editing special issues of Journal of AIS, Communications of the ACM, Scandinavian Journal of IS, and Sustainability. He serves or have served on the Editorial advisory boards of JAIS, IJIM and ISJ. In addition, he regularly conducts seminars and workshops on research methods at different universities around the world and at conferences in Construction Management. He is the current chair of the Association of Information Systems (AIS) Research Conduct Committee, co-founded AIS SIG on e-Government and is the current Chair of AIS SIG on Global Development. He is a past President of IFIP 9.4 (ICT for development). In 2021, he was recognized with the prestigious AIS Fellow awards recognition of his global contributions to the information systems discipline.

Abstract: What exactly do (or should) we design?

As designers of IT artefacts, we all agree that we design for users, even though the relative emphasis on users varies by the paradigm of the field to which we belong Information Systems (IS) or Informatics or Software Engineering or Computer Science. As researchers and practitioners in IS, we work at the intersection of IT and People (individual users or organizations). Hence, we adhere to the concept of socio-technical systems (STS) where what we design is a mix of the social and the technical. While this is intuitive (at least to me), it also throws up a challenge that has sustained over the years: What exactly do we design? Is it a technological artefact or “technology wrapped in the organization and the individual”? The question we wrestle with can be stated as: To what extent is this process and act of design center around producing a piece of technology primarily or are we actually designing routines, processes and procedures that are embedded in that piece of technology? At the core of this question lies how we conceptualize technology. In this talk, I will present and discuss three current perspectives of the IT artefact – sociomateriality, affordances and “IT as ensemble”. All of them can inform design (or already have), but all are also controversial and much debated. I will try to provide a flavor of the discourse and present my own ideas of how we can answer the question: What exactly do (or should) we design? In doing so, I hope to exchange ideas with the audience and be informed by the audience.

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