Incentive and desire: covering a missing category

Peter Bednar, Christine Welch

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


There is a rhetoric in current European political agenda for widening access to ICT's as part of a strategy for encouraging greater participation in public life. We argue against a naïve assumption that technology in itself could provide solutions. Knowing that systems with potential for meaningful use are available is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to bring about desire for use in any particular individual. Work of developers is often perceived within a narrow, largely (socio-) technical definition of information systems. However, it must be recognized that such systems are inherently dependent not only upon their social but also individual and cultural sense-making context. In order to create systems which can empower and involve people, developers need to take a holistic view. This should include the kinds of data people require and processes they will need to have in place to use them. It is suggested here that, in addition to 'content' data and 'process' data, IS professionals need to be concerned with a 'third category'. Why might people wish to use information systems in the first place? For what reasons and purposes would they require access to IS? What would generate desire for access? This third category of data must also be created and explored if IS developers are to take a holistic approach in building systems that can contribute to empowerment for use. This may only be explored through a process of contextual inquiry, using appropriate tools and techniques such as the framework for Strategic Systemic Thinking (SST).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventMediterranean conference on information systems 2006 - Venice, Italy
Duration: 5 Oct 20069 Oct 2006


ConferenceMediterranean conference on information systems 2006
Abbreviated titleMCIS2006


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