Action design research (ADR) is a method to produce knowledge and solve real-world problems through the design of innovative IT/IS artifacts. The starting point for all design science research projects is the identification of a significant problem. However, ADR does not provide detailed guidance in the early stages of the problem formulation. This makes the initial problem formulation process challenging, especially when innovating new artifacts in complex settings. The paper contributes to this discussion by exploring how the Work Systems (WS) snapshot can be used as a tool for identifying and understanding a problem domain. The study leans on a project that focuses on the welfare sector and the transition from school to employment for persons with intellectual disability. We show that the WS snapshot can provide guidance and structure in conceptualizing the problem and that user journeys can assist in communicating the findings to practitioners. However, we encountered challenges relating to the scope and the granularity of the work system. In addition, the complexity of the welfare sector demands that significant time is spend on understanding not only the problem domain itself, but also the surrounding settings.
Wass, Sofie; Omland, Hans O.; and Moe, Carl, "UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM – INNOVATION IN THE WELFARE SECTOR THROUGH ACTION DESIGN RESEARCH" (2019). MCIS 2019 Proceedings. 38.