D&I Research Seminar | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

D&I Research Seminar

A Design Theory for Developing Visual Inquiry Tools


The practice of management is increasingly characterized by wicked management problems. Such problems are hard to specify and describe, have no single best solution, and are complex to solve as their requirements are continuously changing. Visual inquiry tools have recently emerged and gained popularity within teams of practitioners in the business environment to address these problems collaboratively. Such tools structure a wicked management problem visually and provide a problem space within which teams can define the problem they face and generate alternative hypotheses on how to solve it. Based on three artifacts that were part of extensive design science research projects, we propose a design theory to guide future developments of visual inquiry tools. Our contributions are threefold. First, our design theory addresses the lack of rigorous knowledge on how to develop such tools, as most designers merely replicate the apparent features of existing tools. The design theory provides a process for the development of visual inquiry tools with a set of design principles and testable propositions. Second, our study provides an illustration of how knowledge can be accumulated across multiple cases of design science research. Third, our study participates in the call for management research to provide prescriptive knowledge through tools and techniques to solve classes of problems. We argue that the Information Systems discipline can contribute to this need by building on its long tradition in design science research.


Dina Elikan is a PhD candidate at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She does her PhD under the supervision of Pr. Yves Pigneur. Her research focuses on the topics of developing visual collaborative tools for co-designing solutions to wicked problems and looking at the particular problem of startup and SME brand identity.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from noon to 1:30 p.m.
218 Peter B. Lewis Building
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Dina Elikan, PhD Student, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Sponsored by: Design and Innovation


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