This website provides a tour of how to enable IT-related change in complex business organizations (nonprofit and for-profit). It is focused around improvisational design, as improvisation is the result of dealing with wicked problems. We can never resolve (or even agree) such complex problems in one go – the best we can do is to take action, evaluate whether we made the situation better or worse, then try to fix the things we did not fix the first time. Goal-based design is a myth. Instead, we face emergent design, comprising cycles of inquiry, systemic analysis, organizational & IT change, and evaluation. As Rittel & Webber (1973) observed, there is no stopping point. IT and change management fail when they are managed as if each project is self-contained. Instead, we need to manage these processes as a single cycle in an ongoing process of managing organizational fit with an evolving business environment.

Trajectory of evolving goals, leading to design emergence

Examines how design goals and boundaries evolve, the co-design of business and IT systems, and user-centered vs. human-centered design.

Interconnectedness of elements from systems thinking perspective

An overview of what systemic analysis entails and why you need to use it. Includes an introduction to Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).

Two stick men communicating with metal cans and string

Explores design issues relevant to IT mediation of human interactions and communication, including affordances for collaboration processes.

Exploring emergent design and the systemic analysis methods needed
for evolving goals & requirements

Copyright © Susan Gasson, 2009-2023.

All rights reserved. Please contact me for permission to use materials (normally free for educational users with permission).

Dr. Susan Gasson
College of Computing & Informatics
Drexel University
Philadelphia PA 19104