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Research into IT Design Recognized

Many IT projects fail and a large proportion of them could have been saved if a systematic IT design project was carried out before the contract was signed. At the IT University of Copenhagen, Reader Finn Kensing has developed a method which can save time and money when launching ambitious IT projects. He has just received recognition for his research into IT design.

The IT University of Copenhagen each year identifies exceptional research which both contributes new knowledge and specifies how the new insight can be used. Finn Kensing’s research has just been recognized as being one of the best research contributions from The IT University’s research in 2006.

Finn Kensing has received recognition for his research into IT design. This relates to the clarification of goals, formulation of needs and design of coherent visions for change before requirement specification is carried out and a contract is signed.

"It is important to link ambitious visions to specific conditions and capacity, when developing IT systems", Finn Kensing points out. Behind these words is sound theoretical and practical knowledge. He has co-operated with the IT industry and its customers for more than ten years in countering the painful experience and IT catastrophes which have given headlines in the media. The healthcare sector may learn from this, as Denmark is in the process of introducing more IT into the healthcare sector.

"The IT systems that are to be introduced in the healthcare sector are very complex and innovative. When you try to run such project to a fixed time, price, and functionality, it often goes wrong. There is a need for an IT design project which can clarify the level of ambition you are able to meet", explains Finn Kensing.

Through his research he has experienced that large IT projects often are started without a coherent vision for change. This results in budgets and deadlines which are exceeded and IT projects which do not live up to customer and user expectations. An IT design Project costs about 1 per cent of the total budget. “If you cannot afford to clarify the purpose and level of ambition, then the IT project should not be started”, advises Finn Kensing, who also emphasises that this does not mean that you should reduce the ambition level. On the contrary. This is about how you handle ambitions.

"An IT design project ensures that the company's coherent vision for change is based on a healthy business basis. This is a decisive factor in the ability to achieve optimal utilization of investments, no matter whether this is for a large international company or the Danish health authority", explains Finn Kensing.

Unique Danish Position within IT Design Research

The accolade is based on Finn Kensing’s doctoral thesis on the development of a method for IT design ‘Methods and Practices in Participatory Design’, his subsequent research within the area, and his publication of the methodology book ‘Participatory IT Design’, which is published by MIT-Press. The methodology book was written together with colleagues Keld Bødker and Jesper Simonsen from Roskilde University.

Denmark has a unique position within IT Design research and how to involve users in IT project development. The method for IT design is called MUST and has been developed and tested in co-operation with a number of Danish and American companies.

Pia Svejgaard Pedersen | alfa
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