Participation at the DIS conference 2019


Professor Alma Leora Culén and PhD candidate Jorun Børsting from DIGENT together with Assistant Professor William Odom from Simon Fraser University, wrote the paper entitled “Mediating Relatedness for Adolescents with ME: Reducing Isolation through Minimal Interactions with a Robot Avatar”. Jorun and Alma presented the work at the ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2019, in San Diego this June.

The paper explored strategies for technology design to support relatedness and reduce the sense of isolation among adolescents suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. This health condition reduces normal functioning severely, including the ability to be social. More on the condition, for interested readers is here. A robot avatar was placed in the lives of ill adolescents for about a year, which provided an incredibly rich set of data and insights. Based on the findings, the authors propose a set of strategies to design technologies that support relatedness with a minimal level of interactivity and engagement. The paper is available online.

The paper presentation at DIS (photo: Will Odom)

DIS is the premier international and interdisciplinary conference encompassing a wide range of issues related to the design and deployment of interactive systems. The conference brings together researchers, designers, artists, systems engineers, and anyone involved in the design of interactive systems to debate and shape the future of interaction systems research, design, and practice. The theme for DIS 2019 was Contesting Borders and Intersections, aiming to explore the frictions, separation and margins in conjunction with opportunities and imaginaries of possible alternatives.

The conference had a number of very interesting workshops and Jorun and Alma had joint papers on two of them. One of the workshops had the theme Exploring, Defining, & Advancing Community-Driven Design for Social Impact and was organized by Eric Hekler, Jennifer Taylor, Steven Dow, M.C. Schraefel, Sayali Phatak, Don Norman, Faren Grant and Dana Lewis. Their position paper was entitledCommunity Involvement in Social Innovation for Health”. The second workshop was on A sample of One: First-person Research Methods in HCI and was organized by Andrés Lucero, Audrey Desjardins, Carman Neustaedter, Kristina Höök, Marc Hassenzahl and Marta Cecchinato. Their position paper was “SlowBreath: First-Person Research for Self-Management of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”.

The Community Building Workshop (photo: DIS staff)


PhD Fellowships available at the research centre INTRANSIT

Two PhD positions are currently available as part of the Centre for the Study of Innovation Policy for Industrial Transformation, Sustainability and Digitalization (INTRANSIT).


Launched in May this year, this interdisciplinary research centre is a collaboration between TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture (UiO), DIGENT Digitalization and Entrepreneurship (UiO), SINTEF Digital, and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (Utrecht University).

INTRANSIT seeks to address questions such as:

How can we foster industrial transformation towards a smarter and more sustainable Norwegian economy? What are the most important barriers and drivers of industrial transformation? What is the role of incumbent industries in transitions and to what extent is the growth of new industrial niches connected to diversification of existing industries?

One of the PhD positions is in Entrepreneurship, which will be based at the DIGENT section. This position aims to study the roles and interaction dynamics between established and entrepreneurial firms in transition processes.

The other PhD position is in Innovation studies and based at TIK. This position is connected to the study of transition pressures and pathways in Norwegian industries.

Both PhD positions should actively contribute to the INTRANSIT research centre. The positions are for a period of 3 years, with the possibility of extension if participating in teaching and/or administrative activities.

Publication in the Journal Research Policy

PhD candidate Raissa Pershina and Associate Professor Birthe Soppe from DIGENT together with Professor Taran Thune from TIK wrote a paper titled “Bridging analog and digital expertise: Cross-domain collaboration and boundary-spanning tools in the creation of digital innovation”, which was recently accepted for publication in Research Policy.

Using the development of digital serious games as the empirical setting, the paper explores how specialists rooted in digital and analog knowledge domains engage in cross-domain collaboration to jointly create innovative digital products.

The paper is now available online.


Expertise in digital technologies is necessary, but rarely sufficient to generate digital innovation. The purpose of this paper is to explore how specialists rooted in digital and analog knowledge domains engage in cross-domain collaboration to jointly create digital innovation. Our analysis cross-examines the literature on knowledge integration and coordination by examining the role of boundary-spanning tools in fusing divergent types of knowledge. The empirical setting for our study is the development of digital serious games, a novel breed of digital learning products whose creation involves a wide range of gaming/digital and learning/analog expertise. Drawing on an in-depth qualitative study, we find that boundary-spanning tools such as prototypes, mockups, and whiteboards serve as important knowledge bridges buttressing the overall innovation process, enabling diverse experts to increasingly align and integrate their divergent thought worlds and knowledge domains. Furthermore, we find that the alternative interplay among digital and non-digital tools supports the gradual transformation of digital and analog expertise into a novel digital format. Taken together, our results explicate how boundary-spanning tools facilitate collaborative work among specialists rooted in diverse digital and non-digital knowledge domains. Our findings contribute to the literature on knowledge integration and coordination in cross-domain collaboration and digital innovation.

UiO’s first greenhouse gas accounts, the Strategy 2030 and the Rector’s challenge

The University of Oslo (UiO) has presented, for the first time, its greenhouse gas accounts. Launched in May this year, the report presents the climate accounts of UiO for 2018 with a total estimated of approximately 68 000 tonnes of Co2 equivalents (CO₂e). The contributions are divided between travel and transport, energy consumption, consumables and inventory, operations, services, building-related maintenance, and waste. The largest contribution to the university’s greenhouse gas emissions is from the category of travel and transport (with 21 200 tonnes CO₂e), followed by energy consumption (with 13 800 tonnes CO₂e) and consumables and inventory (with 10 400 tonnes CO₂e).

The climate accounts include the emissions in a life-cycle perspective, with both direct and indirect emissions. It can be used both to identify climate measures on the overall level and also to help to prioritize specific areas. The report is part of the ongoing process of Strategy 2030, a work effective from 2020 until 2030 and led by pro-rector Gro Bjørnerud Moe. For more information, please visit the UiO’s page for employees on Ongoing Projects. Strategy 2030 aims at answering questions such as:

What role should the University of Oslo take in the years to come? How should research and education be organised to meet the challenges in Norway and the world? Must the University work in new ways?

The active Strategy 2020 can be found here.

In order to reduce UiO’s climate footprint, the competition Rector’s Challenge 2019 currently invites students to submit ideas on how to cut emissions. The assessment criteria will take into consideration the possible effect, the degree of innovation, and the possibilities of sustainability and scaling. The application form can be filled here and the deadline for submissions is October 1, 2019. Prizes go up to 10 000 NOK, and the winners will be announced in December.

Participation at the EurOMA Conference 2019

PhD student Alice Frantz Schneider from DIGENT participated at the 26th European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Conference in Helsinki, Finland. EurOMA is a European-based network and is considered Europe’s leading professional association for Operations Management (OM). To extend the OM arena worldwide, it works together with its American (Production and Operations Management Society – POMS) and Japan-based (Japanese Operations Management and Strategy Association – JOMSA) counterparts.

The conference theme of this year was “Operations adding value to society”, which aimed at extending manufacturing and services to the wider societal and community implications. It focused on the move beyond goods manufacturing to considerations such as of the supply chain, critical infrastructure, and circular economy. Among the keynotes who highlighted such concepts, an inspirational talk was given by Professor Jan Godsell from the University of Warwick. Papers at the conference addressed sustainability aspects in several tracks, such as “Humanitarian and Development” and “Sustainable supply chain management”.

Alice presenting at the EurOMA Conference 2019

Alice presented the paper entitled “Managing change in operations: The case of the wire stripping machine in Agbogbloshie, Ghana” in the section of “Change management”. In this paper, she applied the theory of constraints to the wire stripping process in Agbogbloshie. The presentation was well received with several comments from the audience, in which it was pointed out the importance of the topic and the many challenges involved in changing operations.

The abstract of the paper follows:

This paper investigates the cable processing in Agbogbloshie, Ghana, one of the best-known informal electronic waste management sites worldwide. Wire stripping machines have been installed on site, but are scarcely used. Instead, environmentally eroding and health hazard inducing, open-air burning continues in order to extract metals from the cables. To investigate the machines’ lack of use, the theory of constraints is applied to empirical data collected in Agbogbloshie in 2017. Financial, policy, and market are identified as the system’s constraints. The subsequent suggestions aim to increase the use of the machines, which would ultimately lead to environmental and socio-economic improvements.

Participation at the BCERC 2019

PhD student Dennis Gan from DIGENT participated at the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) in Boston, Massachusetts (United States) this month. BCERC was founded in 1981 by Babson College and is considered by many to be the premier entrepreneurship research conference in the world. Proceedings from the Conference are found at the Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research compilation.

Olin Hall, BABSON College – the main conference hall for BCERC 2019

Gan presented at the BCERC 2019 the paper INCUMBENTS AND STARTUPS: ON COLLISION COURSE, authored by him and Steffen Korsgaard.

Dennis presenting at BCERC 2019

The abstract of the paper follows:

Despite the promise of complementary resources between incumbents and startups when they enter into strategic alliances, many alliances often end prematurely. This study explores the occurrences of conflicts between incumbents and startups by drawing upon justice theory. We conducted 26 interviews with executives from incumbents, startups, and incubators on their past five doomed strategic alliances. Our findings show that the procedures for incumbents and startups to collaborate are not in place yet (procedural justice) and there is a lack of transparency behind the incumbents’ motives to engage with the startups (interactional justice). We explore the implications of our findings and propose how incumbents and startups can collaborate better in future alliances.

Participation at the ECIS 2019

Kristoffer Fossum, Egil Øvrelid, and Alexander Moltubakk Kempton, all from DIGENT, presented research at the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2019) in Stockholm, Sweden. The papers covered the tracks Digital Transformation in the Public Sector, Health Information Technology and IS for Healthcare, and Research Methods and Philosophy.

The paper “From Recombination to Reconfiguration: Affording Process Innovation in Digital Infrastructures” has been written by Øvrelid and Kempton. By questioning how can a digital infrastructure afford process innovation, the study brings an in-depth case study at a Norwegian hospital that has gone through a large-scale digitalization and innovation project.

Egil presenting at the ECIS 2019

The paper “Adaptive Networked Governance of E-health Standards: The Case of a Regional Health Information Infrastructure in Norway” was also presented, written by Fossum, Fossum, Hanseth, and Sanner. The paper investigates the governance of e-health standards in one health region in Norway and provides a standards governance model.

The other paper presented at the ECIS 2019 by a DIGENT member was “The Digital is Different: A Realist Reinterpretation of Sociomateriality”. Written by Kempton, it builds on a critical realist position centered on the concept of emergence to discuss the implications of strong sociomateriality.

Professors Bendik Bygstad and Margunn Aanestad also participated at the ECIS 2019, as a member of the Research in progress chairs, and as a faculty in the doctoral consortium, respectively.