Towards a Co-design Perspective on Data: Foregrounding Data in the Design and Innovation of Data-based Services

Cathrine Seidelin

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Rapport / Ph.D.-afhandlingPh.d.-afhandling


Data supports an increasing number of services in society. This has created a growing need
for organizations to consider data a key facilitator of service innovation and development.
However, research reveals that organizations lack the tools to support creative and
innovative work with data in ways that help to promote data-driven innovation. To address
this problem, this dissertation examines how organizations can design and innovate their
data-based services. Specifically, it explores how domain experts who are not IT
professionals may participate in designing and innovating the data and data structures that
underpin the digital services they use and provide, as part of their work practices. The
dissertation demonstrates how it is possible to enable domain experts to design with data
when data is carefully foregrounded. It also demonstrates that domain experts may
collaboratively design with data in a way that takes into account that many organizations are
connected to external stakeholders and organizations through shared practices, systems,
and, indeed, data. The dissertation is based on a three-year action research study with
Industriens Uddannelser (IU), an organization that works to maintain and develop vocational
and continuing education programmes related to Denmark’s industrial sector. This
dissertation takes a practice perspective to explicitly focus on day-to-day data practices as a
way to investigate how IU may work with data, to innovate and design their data-based
The long-term action research project with IU forms the core of this dissertation’s six
principal contributions. First, the dissertation discusses how data is used and handled today
by local government and organizations in the public sector. Second, the dissertation
presents a diagram that reveals the complex network of stakeholders which frame how an
organization may provide and innovate essential data-based services. Third, the dissertation
investigates how an organization can develop and establish a culture of design and
innovation to foster data-driven innovation. Fourth, the dissertation elaborates on the tools
developed to enable domain experts who are not IT professional, to participate in the design
of the data-based services they use and provide as part of their work practices. Fifth, based
on the tools developed, the dissertation proposes a Data Mode Map, which is an instrument
that supports reflection on the design of data notation for co-design. Finally, the
dissertation’s principal theoretical contribution is the proposal to develop a co-design
perspective on data. This perspective aims to support organizations in developing their
existing as well as new data-based services using data. Additionally, this perspective
promotes collaborative methods that reveal and take into account varying data practices in
the design process – not only within the individual organization, but across the network of
stakeholders who are more or less involved or influenced by new data-driven initiatives. The
last contribution, in particular, offers suggestions for future research.
ForlagIT-Universitetet i København
Antal sider283
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7949-037-6
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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