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From digital design and IT specialists to sociotechnical design and digitalization partners

Digitalization is about improving organizations by leveraging opportunities offered by digital technologies. Digitalization is hence not just about designing and developing discrete technologies but involves sociotechnical design and innovation where technologies and social arrangements of organizations are designed in tandem. On the one hand, technology must be designed to work well with existing social arrangements within the organization, while simultaneously introducing desirable change. On the other, social arrangements of the organizations, such as work processes, roles, and standards, must often be redesigned as part of the process. Organizing such efforts proves to be a complex and challenging endeavor, particularly in larger public sector organizations like those we find within the health domain. Academic and practitioner literature promotes several methodologies and approaches to sociotechnical design, such as design thinking and systemic design. However, we know relatively little about how to organize projects, design processes, and the relationships between stakeholders to leverage such approaches in large-scale digitalization projects.  

In the design lab, we explore how IT professionals and adopting organizations can organize projects, design processes, and relationships between stakeholders for sociotechnical design, innovation, and digitalization. The master project is quite open, but is organized around two themes:

  • How to organize projects, design processes, and the relationships between stakeholders for sociotechnical design, innovation, and digitalization. Includes examining obstacles, project conditions, successful strategies, and facilitating project configurations
  • How to strengthen IT consultancies such as the HISP groups’ (explained below) ability to support client organizations in planning and carrying out digitalization projects. I.e., what is required to move from being IT consultancies primarily engaging with technical issues, to “digitalization partners” who support clients in digitalization.

Students may explore these issues in the context of the HISP network and the DHIS2 software, or in the Norwegian IT industry. 

In the HISP network, we have a set of “HISP groups” that specialize in implementing DHIS2 for various client organizations such as Ministries of Health. The HISP groups operate as consultancies and help clients plan and organize projects to improve their organizations with a basis in the DHIS2 software. Many of these projects are about implementing DHIS2 to  “mirror” existing paper-based systems - so-called “digitization.” Increasingly, however, projects are geared towards moving beyond mirroring to “improvement” and digitalization. In the design lab, we work together with HISP groups and the DHIS2 core team at UiO to better understand obstacles, successful strategies, and developing resources (methods, frameworks, guidelines) that can help in organizing projects for sociotechnical design, innovation, and digitalization. Also, we examine how the HISP groups can play a more active role in sociotechnical design and innovation - becoming what we term “digitalization partners.”

Students may explore obstacles, strategies, methods, and approaches to sociotechnical design by examining the experiences of various HISP groups and projects or participating in concrete projects. Alternatively, students can be involved in designing and developing resources such as methods, frameworks, and guidelines that aim to support all HISP groups. A project within HISP may involve traveling to countries such as Mozambique or Tanzania for a longer collaboration with specific HISP groups. 

Rather than focusing on the HISP groups, it is also relevant for students to explore projects in the Norwegian context by engaging with one or several IT consultancies to explore their strategies and remaining obstacles in organizing projects and design processes, and in becoming digitalization partners. 

The master project is part of the DHIS2 Design Lab where students work together to explore various aspects of design, innovation, and digitalization. Contact Magnus Li if you find the topic interesting and want to discuss the opportunities within the project.


Publisert 20. sep. 2022 19:28 - Sist endret 20. nov. 2022 10:44

Omfang (studiepoeng)