The Role of IS in Leveraging Intelligence and Creativity in SMEs


The 2009 working conference will be held at University of Minho in Guimarães, Portugal. Registration is now open through the website. The early registration deadline is 30 April 2009; further event details available on the event web site.

Event type: 
Working Conference


ICTs and Development

Date: 22-06-09

Panel #2: ICTs and Development: Challenges for the Creation of Sustainable Knowledge Economies

This panel has about information economy and the role of social-cultural context within which information economy exists. It had the contributions of Eileen Trauth, Nancy Russo, Helena Karsten and Horatiu Dragomiroscu.
Eileen started presenting a research framework with an Influence-impact Model of Technology-society interaction. Her findings were:
1. the identification of relevant socio-cultural characteristics;
2. fitting the information economy to the culture;
3. the role of public policy in evolution of the information economy;
4. generalizable implications for the information age.
Eileen finished presenting some issues on the application of the research framework in USA.
After, there were presented application cases of appliance of Influence-impact Model, presented by Eileen Trauth, in different countries and realities.
Nancy Russo talked about the cultural and social issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina environment.
Helena Karsten discussed the issues of the Influence-Impact framework in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically to African mobile and micro sector.
At last, Horatiu Dragomiroscu made some considerations to the knowledge society and knowledge economy in Romenia society and about the knowledge gap between Romenia and developed countries.

Panel: Organization Design and Engineering - ODE

The impact of Information Technology on economies in general and on organizations in particular has been the locus of attention of researchers from world. In this morning Prof. Antonio Rito, Prof. João Álvaro Carvalho, Prof. Antonio Soares and Prof. Horatiu Dragomiroscu discussed at a panel about ODE.
Prof Antonio Rito (Portugal), begin the panel asking “How to survive organizational engineering as engineer? It is the purpose of the Engineering activity to design and implement materials, structures, machines, devices, systems, and processes that have organizational qualities.

Most of these engineered artefacts are computer-based artefacts with organizational qualities where the artefact is part of the organization design, the artefact is a first-order actor in the organizational structure and the artefact and the organization change each other dynamically. And he finished his presentation asking “Do engineers build organizations? No, answered him. Engineers build artifacts!

Professor João Álvaro Carvalho, from University of Minho , described the concept of organizational mind like as the self- and metarepresentation capabilities of the organization. His claim is that these capabilities are responsible for the emergence of a collective self that is of central importance in the formation of the organizational identity. These capabilities are relevant to the information systems field, as Information Technology applications play a central role in the support of those representational capabilities. He presented a summary of a theoretical perspective that supports a research project aimed at developing a framework to guide managers diagnosing identity dysfunctions resulting from impaired representational capabilities of the organization.

Prof. Antônio Soares, from FEUP-PT, told us about technological rules as knowledge connectors. And, finally, Prof. Horatiu Dragomiroscu (from Romania) commented professor Antonio´s presentation.

Entrepreneurship in High -Technology (Entrepreneurial Firms)

In a very dinamyc presentation Prof. Michael Dowling from University of Regensburg -DE told us about his research. He told that the intensity of international competition in new technologies has increased dramatically in the last few years and a key success factor has become the ability of entrepreneurs to manage both new technologies and business opportunities. He presented some USA and Germany research projects, some real cases of entrepreneurs and success cases.
The entrepreuner is someone who grasps an opportunity beyond the resources you currently control.
Are investments in innovations (R&D) a significant entry barrier in the telecommunications equipament industry? If so, how has this barrier changed since deregulation of the US telecommunications industry? Asked the professor!
He also asked who were relatively research intensive and compared established vs new entrants firms (Cardinal Relative R&D investment) and concluding that to be innovator manager need to be entrepreneur!

Panel 1 -Crowdsourcing Strategy to extend the innovation

06-21-2009 It was a very dynamic panel and finished after the planned time. Prof. Carl Adams and Isabel Ramos presented the first panel.
At first Carl Adams began making a joke showing us two boxes and asking to guess how many sweets in each box and to write the answer on a paper. Each guess tried to answer how many sweets are there in each box.
After this exercise he asked guess what was and is crowdsourcing?
First he said that is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor and outsourcing and that Wikipedia is a good example of crowdsourcing (mass community). He said that Jeff Howe - a US journalist -presented the term in 2006 but in 2004 James Surowuecki´s wrote the book “The wisdom of Crowds” and he suggest three types of problems that crowds can address: cognition, coordination and cooperation. So he talked about other fields (biology and swarm intelligence) and gave several examples. So he did a crowdsourcing task for all guess:
The task was to design a Lego brick toy using the least amount of bricks but appealing to the most amount of people. After the sessions he asked what are the motivations for participating and would it work?
We think that´s an interesting way to discuss the crowdsourcing concepts. After Prof Isabel Ramos integrated the concepts and presented the ways to apply the strategy: Internaly identifying problems and needs of innovation or by placing to a brokering service. She said tha globalization theories and practice indicate a smaller number of larger, multinational corporations…there is a need for innovation and much innovation take place in SMEs; tapping into a vast resource of human capital. Virtual communities are hug – 200 M is 10 times larger than the largest….She also speaks about the potential for SMEs and the benefits of intermediaries brokers. Bridging two value systems: the challenges . Academy and industry, the support mechanisms and critical comments. Dol theories indicate difference between early and later adopters: will crowdsourcing be a long term business model? Still need some incentives, there is no long term business without income; there are challenges in parceling up the tasks and collating the responses.
The future of crowdsourcing: the evolution of crowdsourcinng intermediaries effectiviely re-intermediation of the value and supply/demand chains
IPR based incentive mechanisms, micropayment and microIP mechanisms – sharing IPR
The emergence of new organizational structures – a new dimension in virtual transient organizations (temporal-transient crowds (TTCs)/outsourcing groups and Micro IP systems for TTCs.
Different flavors characterized by incentives and motivations.
The panel finished with these questions:
What are the challenges? What are the research questions we should be asking? Is there a manifesto for crowdsourcing (that can inform policy)?
What are the contributions by individuals – motivation of the crowds and economics benefits?

Session #1: Creativity and Innovation Challenges

Date: 21-06-09

This session was moderated by Antony Bryant.
It started with Julie and Kenneth Kendall presentation titled "SMEs, IT, and the Third Space: Colonization and Creativity in Theatre Industry".
Their work centers on helping small and medium-sized professional, nonprofit theatres to improve.
They present a Third Space, based on Bhabha definition, where nonprofit theatres companies and large-scale commercial productions can make joint ventures to gain corporate sponsorship in order to fund innovative, socially conscious work and form strategic alliances. It was listed some specific IT functions and management strategies of instances of nonprofit theatres and commercial productions exchanging ideas and in turn being influenced in the third space.
Future research direction will be to better understand the relationship of SMEs with big companies and how they use information technology in that relation.

The second talk was presented by Sylvia Valcárcel with the title “Roadmap towards Web 2.0-based Open Innovation in SME-Networks – A Case Study Based Research Framework”.
Sylvia made an overview on the research project KMU2.0 and the challenges of a cooperative research project with SMEs regional networks. Her main question is how to free up creativity in SMEs and how to promote collaboration among SMEs members and between organizations.

Last talk of this session was made by Uday Murthy titled “Conducting creativity brainstorming sessions in small and medium-sized enterprises using computer-mediated communication tools”.
Uday presented an overview of brainstorming techniques through CMC (Computer-mediated communication), and also some modes of brainstorming. The speaker stressed some recommendations for creativity brainstorming CMC configuration, both brainstorming techniques and modes.

This was a very interesting and participated session, with about sixteen participants and with many questions in each presentation (aprox. 5 per talk).