Considering practitioner-driven innovations: Accommodating information systems within successful humanitarian work

Robin E. Mays*, Melissa Braxton, Andrew Berry, John Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper offers an in-depth analysis of how technology emerged in stories of success from interviews with Red Cross/Red Crescent (RCRC) humanitarian aid workers named for doing good work. Our findings reveal that in these contexts, technology exists, for the practitioners, much like a language - diverse according to environment, culture and skill. As such, practitioners' core mission to effectively identify and communicate the needs of communities among stakeholders and throughout different organizational levels drives innovation. The environment demands innovations by practitioners to ensure the transfer of information, and it's embedded meaning, is bridged across disparate technological modes and information systems. We found a common problem-solving perspective toward work, awareness of gaps in the flow of meaning and information across stakeholders, along with multi-modal, multi-cultural and interpersonal fluencies active where innovations occur. When empowered with the autonomy to adapt tools, successful practitioners are able to support the effective transfer of meaning across cultures, organizational perspective and technological environments. Ultimately, these findings enhance our understanding of the use of technology in humanitarian work. It provides insights for ways to maximize technology effectiveness and reconsider the focus of design beyond the technology alone, and instead calls for a socio-material approach acknowledging technology as part of a larger, more complex system of systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation/IEEE lnternational Technology Management Conference, ICE/ITMC 2016 - Proceedings
EditorsKjetil Kristensen, Robert Bierwolf, David Romero, Pekka Abrahamsson
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509029358
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation/IEEE lnternational Technology Management Conference, ICE/ITMC 2016 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: Jun 13 2016Jun 15 2016

Publication series

Name2016 International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation/IEEE lnternational Technology Management Conference, ICE/ITMC 2016 - Proceedings

Conference

Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation/IEEE lnternational Technology Management Conference, ICE/ITMC 2016
Country/TerritoryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period6/13/166/15/16

Keywords

  • Adapation
  • Adaptation
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Disaster response
  • Effectiveness
  • Humanitarian practice
  • Humanitarian technology
  • Innovation
  • Resilience
  • Technology design
  • Tools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management

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