Keynote Speaker

"Engaging with grand challenges: can
pro-societal information systems (ProSIS)
help change behaviours?"

By Professor Richard Vidgen, Professor of Systems Thinking, Department of Management Systems, Hull University Business School, UK


Richard Vidgen is Professor of Systems Thinking in the Hull University Business School and Visiting Professor of Information Systems at the Australian School of Business. He worked for fifteen years in the IT industry as a programmer, systems analyst, and consulting project manager. He left industry to study for a PhD in Information Systems at the University of Salford and then worked at the School of Management, University of Bath and the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales. He has published research articles in leading journals including Information Systems Research, Information & Management, European Journal of Information Systems, Journal of Information Technology, Omega, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, and the Information Systems Journal. Richard was part of a team funded by the Australian Government to investigate leadership, culture and management practices on high performing workplaces. His current research interests include: the application of complex adaptive systems theory and social networks to the study of information system development and to high performing organizations in general; Internet quality and Web site usability (with Stuart Barnes he developed the widely cited WebQual method); and, the use of ICT to support behaviour change (Pro-societal information systems – ProSIS).



Grand Challenges - such as the eradication of extreme poverty, combating diseases, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing levels of human health and happiness - are problems that are: (i) difficult to solve, (ii) demand significant improvements in research, (iii) require great advances of knowledge, and (iv) rely on collaborative efforts from many disciplines and communities (Winter & Butler, 2011). We define the term pro-societal to include pro-social behaviors, ones that are altruistic and benefit society directly (e.g., charitable donations, volunteering, community engagement), and pro-self behaviors (e.g., eating a healthy diet, reducing household energy use, ceasing smoking), which are egoistic and benefit the individual directly. Pro-self behaviors benefit society indirectly, e.g., taking regular exercise will lessen the national cost of health care. ProSIS draws on theories of persuasion, self-determination, social presence, and social networks to understand how ICT artefacts can be deployed to engender and maintain behaviour change. Such ICT artefacts are considered to have persuasive affordances. The artefacts include software applications such as ambient information provision, social media and interactive games. These artefacts are ubiquitous and context-aware and may make use of neuro- and physio-sensing capabilities. We believe that IS will benefit significantly by becoming a willing partner with other disciplines in tackling society’s grand challenges and will benefit further from greater resource flows, new students, new faculties, and a greater legitimacy as a discipline (Winter & Butler, 2011).



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