Information Systems Innovation Research: Between Novel Futures and Durable Presents

  • Margunn Aanestad
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 356)


In this paper, I argue that we should not only orient ourselves to the future by looking forward to the yet unrealized. When researching the future, we should also develop a sensibility to the durability of our past and present creations, and under stand how they impact the scope for future innovations. The common emphasis on the visionary and novel components of innovation needs to be comple mented with an emphasis on the constants, the slowly changing or non-changing aspects. In the paper, I seek to articulate how we could increase our ability to recognize the durability of the present with respect to empirical study objects, analytic approaches, and theoretical resources.


Innovations infrastructural inversion maintenance installed base 


  1. Andersson, M., Lindgren, R., Henfridsson, O.: Architectural Knowledge in Inter-Organizational IT Innovation. Journal of Strategic Information Systems 17(1), 19–38 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry, A.: Political Machines: Governing a Technological Society. The Athlone Press, Middlesex (2001)Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, K.: Legacy Systems: Coping with Success. IEEE Software 12(1), 19–23 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bisbal, J., Lawless, D., Wu, B., Grimson, J.: Legacy Information Systems: Issues and Directions. IEEE Software 16(5), 103–111 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boland, R.J., Lyytinen, K., Yoo, Y.: Wakes of Innovation in Project Networks: The Case of Digital 3-D Representations in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. Organization Science 18(4), 631–647 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowker, G.C.: Science on the Run: Information Management and Industrial Geophysics at Schlumberger, 1920-1940. MIT Press, Cambridge (1994)Google Scholar
  7. Bowker, G.C., Star, S.L.: Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences. MIT Press, Cambridge (1999)Google Scholar
  8. Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W., West, J. (eds.): Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2006)Google Scholar
  9. Christensen, C.M.: The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Harvard Business Press, Boston (1997)Google Scholar
  10. Ciborra, C.: A Critical Review of the Literature on the Management of Corporate Information Infrastructures. In: Ciborra, C., Braa, K., Cordella, A., Dahlbom, B., Failla, A., Hanseth, O., Hespø, V., Ljungberg, J., Monteiro, E., Simon, K.A. (eds.) From Control to Drift–The Dynamics of Corporate Information Infrastructures. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000)Google Scholar
  11. Contini, F., Lanzara, G.: ICT and Innovation in the Public Sector. Palgrave Macmillan, London (2009)Google Scholar
  12. Currie, W.L., Guah, M.W.: Conflicting Institutional Logics: A National Programme for IT in the Organisational Field of Healthcare. Journal of Information Technology 22(3), 235–247 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. David, P.A.: Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. American Economic Review 75(2), 332–337 (1985)Google Scholar
  14. David, P.A., Bunn, J.A.: The Economics of Gateway Technologies and Network Evolution: Lessons from Electricity Supply History. Information Economics and Policy 3(2), 165–202 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dosi, G.: Technological Paradigms and Technological Trajectories: A Suggested Interpretation of the Determinants and Directions of Technical Change. Research Policy 11(3), 147–162 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dourish, P.: Implications for Design. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Montréal, Québec, Canada, pp. 541–550 (2006)Google Scholar
  17. Ehn, P., Sjögren, P.: From Systems Description to Scripts for Action. In: Greenbaum, J.M., Kyng, M. (eds.) Design at Work: Cooperative Design of Computer Systems, pp. 241–268. Routledge, London (1991)Google Scholar
  18. El Sawy, O.A., Malhotra, A., Park, Y.: Seeking the Configurations of Digital Ecodynamics: It Takes Three to Tango. Information Systems Research 21(4), 835–848 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Erlikh, L.: Leveraging Legacy System Dollars for E-Business. IEEE IT Pro, May/June 17–23 (2000) Google Scholar
  20. Fichman, R.G.: Going Beyond the Dominant Paradigm for Information Technology Innovation Research: Emerging Concepts and Methods. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 5(8), 314–355 (2004)Google Scholar
  21. Fiol, C.M., O’Connor, E.J.: Waking Up! Mindfulness in the Face of Bandwagons. Academy of Management Review 28(1), 54–70 (2003)Google Scholar
  22. Fujimura, J.: Crafting Science: Standardized Packages, Boundary Objects and “Translations”. In: Pickering, A. (ed.) Science as Practice and Culture. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1992)Google Scholar
  23. Gasser, L.: The Integration of Computing and Routine Work. ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems 4(3), 205–225 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gherardi, S., Nicolini, D.: To Transfer is to Transform: The Circulation of Safety Knowledge. Organization 7(3), 329–348 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Graham, S., Thrift, N.: Out of Order. Understanding Repair and Maintenance. Theory, Culture & Society 24(3), 1–25 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenhalgh, T., Stramer, K., Bratan, T., Byrne, E., Russell, J., Hinder, S., Potts, H.: The Devil’s in The Detail: Final Report of the Independent Evaluation of the Summary Care Record and Healthspace Programmes. University College London, London (2010)Google Scholar
  27. Guijarro, L.: Interoperability Frameworks and Enterprise Architectures in Egovernment Initiatives in Europe and the United States. Government Information Quarterly 24, 89–101 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hanseth, O.: Information Infrastructure Development: Cultivating the Installed Base. Studies in the Use of Information Technologies, (16), Department of Informatics, Göteborg University (1996) Google Scholar
  29. Hanseth, O.: The Economics of Standards. In: Ciborra, C., Braa, K., Cordella, A., Dahlbom, B., Failla, A., Hanseth, O., Hespø, V., Ljungberg, J., Monteiro, E., Simon, K.A. (eds.) From Control to Drift–The Dynamics of Corporate Information Infrastructures, pp. 56–70. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000)Google Scholar
  30. Hanseth, O.: Gateways–Just as Important as Standards: How the Internet Won the “Religious War” Over Standards in Scandinavia. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 14(3), 71–89 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hanseth, O., Lyytinen, K.: Design Theory for Dynamic Complexity in Information Infrastructures: The Case of Building Internet. Journal of Information Technology 25(1), 1–19 (2010)Google Scholar
  32. Hanseth, O., Monteiro, E.: Social Shaping of Information Infrastructure: On Being Specific About the Technology. In: Orlikowski, W.J., Walsham, G., Jones, M.R., De Gross, J.I. (eds.) Information Technology and Changes in Organizational Work, pp. 325–343. Chapman & Hall, London (1995)Google Scholar
  33. Hanseth, O., Monteiro, E., Hatling, M.: Developing Information Infrastructure: The tension between Standardization and Flexibility. Science, Technology & Human Values 21(4), 407–426 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Henderson, R.M., Clarke, K.B.: Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms. Administrative Science Quarterly 35(1), 9–30 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hepsø, V., Monteiro, E., Rolland, K.: Ecologies of eInfrastructures. Journal of the AIS 10(5), 430–446 (2009)Google Scholar
  36. Hughes, T.P.: Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore (1983)Google Scholar
  37. Jensen, T.B., Aanestad, M.: National Initiatives to Build Healthcare Information Infrastructures. In: Proceedings of the MCIS, Paper 43 (2010)Google Scholar
  38. Jewett, T., Kling, R.: The Dynamics of Computerization in a Social Science Research Team: A Case Study of Infrastructures, Strategies and Skills. Social Science Computer Review 9, 246–275 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jones, M.: Learning the Lessons of History? Electronic Records in the United Kingdom Acute Hospitals, 1988-2002. Health Informatics Journal 10(4), 253–263 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kalleberg, K.T.: Abstractions for Language-Independent Program Transformations. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Bergen (2007)Google Scholar
  41. Kallinikos, J.: Recalcitrant Technology, Cross-Contextual Systems and Context-Embedded Action. Working Paper Series, (103), London School of Economics (2002) Google Scholar
  42. Keen, P.G.W.: Information Systems and Organizational Change. Communications of the ACM 24(1), 24–33 (1981)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kensing, F., Madsen, K.H.: Generating Visions: Future Workshops and Metaphorical Design. In: Greenbaum, J.M., Kyng, M. (eds.) Design at Work: Cooperative Design of Computer Systems, pp. 155–168. Routledge, London (1991)Google Scholar
  44. Kling, R., Scacchi, W.: The Web of Computing: Computer Technology as Social Organization. Advances in Computers 21, 1–90 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Knorr-Cetina, K.: Epistemic Cultures: Forms of Reason in Science. History of Political Economy 23(1), 105–122 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Latour, B.: Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford University Press, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  47. Latour, B., Woolgar, S.: Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills (1979)Google Scholar
  48. Lientz, B.P., Swanson, E.B.: Problems in Application Software Maintenance. Communications of the ACM 24(11), 763–769 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lientz, B.P., Swanson, E.B., Tompkins, G.E.: Characteristics of Application Software Maintenance. Communications of the ACM 21(6), 466–471 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lynch, M.: Art and Artifact in Laboratory Science. Routledge and Kegan Paul, Boston (1985)Google Scholar
  51. Lyytinen, K., Damsgaard, J.: Configuration Analysis of Inter-Organizational Information Systems Adoption. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol. 60, pp. 127–138 (2010)Google Scholar
  52. Markus, M.L.: Power, Politics, and MIS Implementation. Communications of the ACM 26(6), 430–444 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mahoney, J.: Path Dependence in Historical Sociology. Theory and Society 29(4), 507–548 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Moad, J.: Maintaining the Competitive Edge. Datamation, 61–62 (1990)Google Scholar
  55. Monteiro, E., Hanseth, O.: Social Shaping of Information Infrastructure: On Being Specific About Technology. In: Orlikowski, W.J., Walsham, G., Jones, M.R., DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Information Technology and Changes in Organizational Work, pp. 325–343. Chapman & Hall, London (1995)Google Scholar
  56. Murch, R.: Autonomic Computing. IBM Press, Armonk (2004)Google Scholar
  57. Nelson, R.R., Winter, S.G.: An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Harvard University Press, Boston (1982)Google Scholar
  58. Orlikowski, W.J., Iacono, C.S.: Research Commentary: Desperately Seeking the “IT” in IT Research—A Call to Theorizing the IT Artifact. Information Systems Research 12(2), 121–134 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Orr, J.E.: About Machines. An Ethnography of a Modern Job. ILR Press, Ithaca (1996)Google Scholar
  60. Ribes, D., Bowker, G.: Organizing for Multidisciplinary Collaboration: The Case of the Geosciences Network. In: Olson, G.M., Zimmerman, A., Bos, N. (eds.) Scientific Collaboration on the Internet. MIT Press, Cambridge (2008)Google Scholar
  61. Ribes, D., Finholt, T.: Tensions Across the Scales: Planning Infrastructure for the Long-Term. In: Proceedings of the 2007 International ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work, pp. 229–238 (2007)Google Scholar
  62. Ribes, D., Finholt, T.: The Long Now of Information Infrastructures. Articulating Tensions in Development. Journal of the AIS 10(5), 375–398 (2009)Google Scholar
  63. Risan, L.: The Duration of the Present and the Risk of Not Telling Large Stories. EASST Review (October 2006),
  64. Sahay, S., Monteiro, E., Aanestad, M.: Configurable Politics and Asymmetric Integration: Health e-Infrastructures in India. Journal of the AIS 10(5), 399–414 (2009)Google Scholar
  65. Schumpter, J.: The Theory of Economic Development. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1934)Google Scholar
  66. Scotchmer, S.: Innovation and Incentives. MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  67. Seacord, R., Plakosh, D., Lewis, G.: Modernizing Legacy Systems: Software Technologies, Engineering Processes, and Business Practices. Addison-Wesley, Reading (2003)Google Scholar
  68. Spinosa, C., Flores, F., Dreyfus, H.: Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action and the Cultivation of Solidarity. MIT Press, Cambridge (1997)Google Scholar
  69. Sørensen, B.M.: Behold, I Am Making All Things New: The Entrepreneur as Savior in the Age of Creativity. Scandinavian Journal of Management 24(2), 85–93 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Star, S.L.: Infrastructure and Ethnographic Practice: Working on the Fringes. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 14(2), 107–122 (2002)Google Scholar
  71. Star, S.L., Ruhleder, K.: Steps Toward an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access for Large Information Spaces. Information Systems Research 7(1), 111–134 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Steinmueller, E.: Does Information and Communication Technology Facilitate Codification of Knowledge? Industrial and Corporate Change 9, 361–476 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Suchman, L., and Bishop, L.: Problematizing Innovation as a Critical Project. Paper presented in the panel Critical Potential of Innovation Studies, Conference on Critical Management Studies, Manchester, England (1999) Google Scholar
  74. Summerton, J. (ed.): Changing Large Technical Systems. Westview, Boulder (1994)Google Scholar
  75. Swanson, E.B., Ramiller, N.: Innovating Mindfully with Information Technology. MIS Quarterly 28(4), 553–583 (2004)Google Scholar
  76. Tilson, D., Lyytinen, K., Sørensen, C.: Digital Infrastructures: The Missing IS Research Agenda. Information Systems Research 21(4), 748–759 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tiwana, A., Konsynski, B., Bush, A.A.: Platform Evolution: Coevolution of Platform Architecture, Governance, and Environmental Dynamics. Information Systems Research 21(4), 675–687 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tuomi, I.: Networks of Innovation: Change and Meaning in the Age of the Internet. Oxford University Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  79. Ullman, E.: The Myth of Order. WIRED, Issue 7.04 (April 1999) Google Scholar
  80. von Hippel, E.: The Sources of Innovation. Oxford University Press, New York (1988)Google Scholar
  81. Watts, L.: Future Archeologies. Method and Story, Keynote address given at the Society of Museum Archaeologists Conference, Guildhall, Winchester UK (November 5, 2009),
  82. Webster, B.: Surviving Complexity. Baseline Magazine (2008)Google Scholar
  83. Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., Lyytinen, K.: The New Organizing Logic of Digital Innovation: An Agenda for Information Systems Research. Information Systems Research 21(4), 724–735 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zachman, J.: A Framework for Information Systems Architecture. IBM Systems Journal 26(3), 276 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margunn Aanestad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of OsloBlindernNorway

Personalised recommendations