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Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

The information systems research on generativity promises unprompted, innovative inputs from uncoordinated audiences, whose participation with heterogeneous technological resources generates diverse outputs and opens new possibilities. The question is how to perpetuate the openness on which the outputs of generativity rely. We advance, as a potential mechanism of generativity, the concept of digital probes, which leverage human and technological resources in hybrid digital and physical environments. The aesthetically rich probes challenge values, identities, and practices, cultivating emotional tensions that can reveal previously unexplored and unimagined possibilities, resulting in novel ideas, thoughts, and expressions. The new possibilities reveal what is hidden; reconfigure practices; cross-appropriate technological and social resources; and thereby further expand what can be experienced, viewed, and imagined. Further, the new possibilities draw new actors that again view things differently and seek different experiences, thus fueling emotional tensions that in turn open new possibilities, without settling them. We illustrate digital probes and their effects at Formula E. Formula E is a new motorsports venture that leveraged eSports, social media, crowdsourcing, and driverless cars in digital probes to reveal and examine previously unimagined possibilities of what the world of motorsport could be in the digital era. We end by exploring future research directions.

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