Virtual Open Innovation Lab

Coordinator: University of Muenster. Consortium: Universidade Do Minho, Hochschule Rheinmain, Kauno Technologijos Universitetas, Universidad De La Iglesia De Deusto Entidad Religiosa, Institute Of Entrepreneurship Development, Universitaet Graz, Cotec Portugal Associacao, Empresarial Para A Inovacao.
Funded by Erasmus+, Horizon2020.
Project period: November 2019-November 2021. 

The project VOIL – Virtual Open Innovation Lab has two strategic objectives: 

(1) to raise awareness about the potential of emerging technologies for the digital transformation of micro, small & medium businesses,
(2) to design a pedagogical model for simulation-based learning of advanced digital competencies.
UIA Project manager: Niels Garmann-Johnsen

Workshop series: Understanding digital transformation of teaching and learning in Nordic higher education: innovations, mediations and context

Funding: The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS)
Project manager: Cathrine Tømte. Co-leader: Vito Laterza.
Partners: Aarhus University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Project period: January 2020-December 2021.

Our workshop series will produce policy-relevant academic knowledge about processes, opportunities and challenges of digital transformation of teaching and learning in Nordic higher education. Our overarching questions are: what kinds of transformations occur as a result of digitalisation of teaching &learning in Nordic higher education? How do we make sense of them within and beyond the classroom – e.g. effects on policies and practices in organisational, governance and technology domains linked to higher education teaching &learning? What theories, methods and empirical cases can successfully tackle these questions?

Från blankett till robot? Om automatiserad ärendehantering i svenska kommuner

Funding: AFA Försäkring.
Project manager: Linköping universitet.
Project period: 2020-2022.
Member of Advisory board: Leif Skiftenes Flak.

Profesjonsfaglig digital kompetanse for studenter og lærerutdannere i grunnskolelærerutdanningene (ProDIG) 2018-2020

Professional digital competence for students and educators in primary school education.
Project owner: University of Agder
Funded by: Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and Norgesuniversitetet.

Felles telemedisinsk løsning på Agder (Telma) 2016-2018

Telma is a joint telemedical solution for the region of Agder in Norway. The ambition is to establish a joint solution for all 30 municipalities in Agder county.  6 partners: Kristiansand, Farsund and Risør municipalities, South Norway Hospital (SSHF), Siemens HealthCare and Centre for ehealth at University of Agder.
Project owner: Kristiansand municipality.
Funded by the Norwegian Research council.

GOV3.0: Scientific Foundations Training & Entrepreneurship Activities in the Domain of ICT-enabled Governance

The Gov 3.0 project aims at establishing ICT-enabled Governance as a vivid research domain, by providing universities, private firms and government agencies with cutting-edge knowledge on emerging technologies and policy support methods and tools. The core consortium will engage a network of affiliate partners and experts from all over the world.
Funded by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

PhD Project: Coordination of local governments regional cooperation

PhD Fellow Barbara Zyzak
Political Science

Due to the ongoing turbulent and changing nature of our society there is a need to face a number of complex, ‘wicked’ and “unruly” problems. Therefore, there is a growing importance of coordination of collective actions at the level of organizations. Consequently, the rise of various inter-organizational relationships is more and more evident. The main objective of the PhD project is to investigate how and why coordination of inter- municipal cooperation may affect their outcomes. The three scientific papers have been developed:

  1. Breakdown of Inter-organizational Cooperation.
  2. External Managerial Networking in Meta-organization.
  3. The impact of Networking on Innovation Outcomes in the Public Sector (working paper).

Both, qualitative and quantitative methods are applied. The empirical study compares political and administrative inter-municipal cooperation called regional councils, and the other regional governance networks that coordinate welfare technology and digitalization of public sector in Norway.

Supervisors: Professor Dag Ingvar Jacobsen (UiA), Professor Robyn Keast (Southern Cross University, Australia)

PhD Project: Mothering, migration and digital media

PhD Fellow Heidi Esma Dahl Bønnhoff

I am doing a PhD project in sociology and social work. The broader topic is how living in an increasingly digitalized society effects the everyday lives of citizens. I’ve chosen to focus on the intersection between mothering, migration and digital media, by viewing the digitalized welfare services from the standpoint of 16 migrant mothers. The thesis especially highlights the mother’s relations to the child care sector and NAV. The basic hypothesis is that mothering in a digitalized society implies a lot of tacit knowledge both about mothering itself and how to navigate in digitalized institutional complexes. This tacit knowledge can be unknown or challenging to obtain for migrant mothers from less digitalized societies. Methodologically, I’ve been inspired by institutional ethnography to explore the mother’s social relations and how macro-institutional politics are organizing and coordinating their everyday lives.

Supervisors: Professor Anne Marie Støkken, dosent Carl Erik Moe and Associate professor May-Linda Magnussen

PhD Project: Deconstructing Welfare Technology Programs: Outcome Evaluation From Two Case-Studies

PhD Fellow Gloria Ziglioli, Sociology and Social Work

The subject-matter of this research project is the adoption of information and communication technology in long-term care practices (LTC )- for elderly users with chronic conditions; whose trademarks of continuity, multidimensionality and temporal extension imply a broad and complex reflection also on the matter of welfare state development, in the light of the contemporary economic and social crisis.

Supervisor: Professor Alexander Ruser

PhD Project: The role of information systems in international governance: The case of the Paris Agreement

PhD Fellow Tove Sofia Engvall
Information systems

Toves PhD project is about digitalization and the role of information systems in international governance. She will use the reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a case. All countries should report on their commitments and achievements, as well as greenhouse gas emissions to the UNFCCC. The idea is that this will enable transparency, assessment of individual and collective action, inspire political engagement and participation. In this way, both the information and system have central roles in governance. The research will explore the relationship between information, technology and governance, to develop a deeper understanding of the role of information systems in a complex context of international governance.

Tove is a PhD fellow in Information Systems, at the Center for Digital Transformation. She has worked as a lecturer in archives and information science, and participated in research projects in this field, at Mid Sweden University. One project was about records management and life cycle economy in the Swedish Transport Administration. She has also participated in the international research project about trust in records in an online networked context, InterPARES Trust. Before this, Tove worked as an e-archivist in a Swedish municipality, and also participated in national projects about e-archives. She has a commitment to issues about sustainable development, and has been involved in the NGO-sector, especially regarding global sustainability issues.

Supervisors: Professor Leif Skiftenes Flak and professor Jarle Trondal

PhD Project: Infectious Ideas – Ideational Power in Artificial Intelligence Policy Development

PhD Fellow Frans af Malmborg
Political Science


The ongoing PhD project aims to answer three questions;
  1. How is public policy on Artificial Intelligence (AI) overall being framed by governments?
  2. Are there differences or similarities in AI framing across European nations?
  3. To what extent is it possible to observe ideational integration and/or differentiation across national governments in relation to international policy organizations such as the OECD, the EU or the UN?
Main supervisor: Professor Jarle Trondal Co-supervisor: Professor Leif Skiftenes Flak

PhD Project: Business Intelligence and Analytics in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Assistant Professor Marilex Rea Llave Information systems Abstract: In today’s customer-centric, digital-first world, many business owners and managers are bombarded with ‘information overload’ and are urgently seeking ways to derive greater control, understanding and intelligence from their organization’s data. Business intelligence and analytics (BI&A) are data-centric approaches that complement data with a set of methodologies, processes, technologies, and tools to analyze and extract information from data. BI&A systems are designed to support and to improve decision making which in turn can lead to improved organizational performance. Although the importance of BI&A is widely accepted, empirical research shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still lagging behind in the proliferation of BI&A. Thus, to understand the phenomenon of BI&A adoption in SMEs are considered crucial. The Delphi study and qualitative interviews with BI&A experts have been conducted to investigate the adoption, utilization, and value creation of BI&A in the SME context. Main Supervisor: Professor Dag H. Olsen Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Eli Hustad

PhD Project: Public organizations and their ability to cope with changes

PhD Fellow Frank Danielsen. Information systems I am a PhD research fellow in Information Systems and my research area is eGovernment. I study digital transformation initiatives in public organizations and how digitalization will affect their ability to cope with changes. To understand this there is also a need to know what digital transformation is in the context of public organizations. Further, I want to identify opportunities and challenges of digital transformation initiatives. I also want to understand how supportive technologies can affect these challenges. The plan is to use mixed methods (qualitative case studies and quantitative surveys) to explore this in depth and verify my findings. I started on my PhD in 2017 and I hope to conclude in 2022. Supervisors: Professor Øystein Sæbø and Professor Maung Kyaw Sein

PhD Project: Digital Discretion Acceptance and Impact in Street-Level Bureaucracy

Assistant professor Dr. Peter André Busch. Information systems Abstract: Street-level bureaucracies are public organizations responsible for turning policy intentions into actions experienced by clients. They occupy street-level bureaucrats such as judges, social workers, and teachers who have extensive ability to exercise discretion. Whereas clients ideally should experience public policy implementation equally within a jurisdiction, policies are often found to be implemented differently in different contexts. Policy discrepancies have led to the criticism of discretionary practices, introducing technology as a remedy to reduce the street-level footprint in policy implementation. Whereas street-level bureaucrats may have become powerful actors, a technological impact on discretionary practices can disclose too much algorithmic imprint. This is potentially problematic since there is a fundamental difference between professional street-level work and digital work practices. Whereas street-level bureaucrats base their decisions on professional knowledge and skill sets, acquired through years of training and experience, digital tools are designed by non-professionals without any first-hand experience of street-level work. Using a mixed methods approach, I have investigated how the characteristics of street-level work can explain the acceptance and impact of digital discretion. Thesis successfully defended 10.05.2019. Supervisor: Professor Øystein Sæbø

PhD Project: Digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany – (Simply) a matter of governance?

PhD Fellow Christopher Köhler, Zeppelin University, Germany Sociology Abstract: What is „good“ governance? This question is as old as the original roots of the concept of governance that lie in ancient greek. Still, in times where political and economic changes, crisis and revolutions challenge countries, enterprises, people in many countries governance by various actors seems to face renaissance. This also proves to be true in the context of the digital revolution. Therefore, various governments all over the world implement respective policies to (try to) enable their society to be on the winning rather than the losing side. One such example is Germany. Traditionally the German “Mittelstand” is described as to be the backbone of economy. Even more important for the economy though – in scale and size – are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which make up more than 99 percent of all enterprises in Germany. Problematically, digitalization has been proven to be quite challenging. This is particularly true for small and medium-sized firms as these organizations face many disadvantages (e.g. lack of expertise and financial autonomy) in comparison to big companies. In line with resource-dependence theory (RDT) especially such enterprises are contingent on external resources to generate profit and/or outperform competitors. In this respect, the thesis with the working title “Digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany – (Simply) a matter of governance?“ analyses the (digital) governance-mechanisms and policy instruments national and subnational governments implement to support german SMEs concerning the digital challenge. Therefore, the author utilizes the interdisciplinary concept of governance to synthesize theories of political science (e.g. theory of public goods) and economics (market-based (MBV) and resource-based view (RBV) and RDT) to evaluate how potential policy implementation failures may be obviated (in the future) and which already implemented governance-mechanisms (hierarchy, market and/or networks) are suited (best) to support diverse german SMEs concerning (internal) digitalization. Therefore, the work draws on qualitative (e.g. content analysis) as well as quantitative methods (e.g. text mining, cluster analysis and various regression models) to guarantee methodological triangulation. Theories
  • Determinants (various) of democratic (in-)stability
  • Governance (theories): Policy cycle/stages (politics, policies, policy outcomes), transaction cost theory, market-based view, resource-based view, resource-dependence theory
Analysis and Methods Survey research, descriptive statistics, qualitative and quantitative text/content analysis, cluster analysis, regression models (various) Software STATA, R, MPLUS, MAXQDA, LATEX Supervisor: Professor Alexander Ruser.
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