Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber
Head of Reseacrh Incubator
+49 234 544 96 062
At CAIS, we follow a structured process to sound out potentially important topics in digitalization research, with these yielding topics for CAIS research programs starting in 2021.
The central objective of the CAIS Research Incubator for 2019 to 2021 has been to develop and try out processes in order to promote cross-area networking and interdisciplinary collaboration in an innovative framework for science and research, and also to identify in a systematic way relevant research topics for the research programs.
The process of identifying topics entails a continuous alternation between collecting and condensing insights. We can depict this alternation by structuring it in four steps (Figure 1).
We then held six topic sprints with various stakeholders to discuss and separate out these focal points, and to identify any overlaps between them. These topic sprints are compressed, co-creative workshop formats for interdisciplinary work, where deliberately heterogeneous groups explored the overlaps between the four areas and any overarching topics, and collected and discussed research questions and project ideas (Figure 3).
Having systematized and condensed the results of the six topic sprints, we developed 13 so-called fact sheets that help the CAIS committees to decide on topics for the CAIS research programs. The fact sheets each contained a key question, possible questions to guide research, initial project ideas, and ideas for real-world laboratories (Figure 4).
The first three components (real-time Delphi study, expert discussions, automated text analysis) enabled experts to give the topic area a wide scope. The survey makes an initial condensing of the results possible; the digital topic sprints opened up the process to allow the results to be differentiated; finally, the results were systematized and summarized in fact sheets.
These fact sheets underlay the final step in the process, which saw the various CAIS committees weighting the results further and fleshing them out. With regard to the process, the format here corresponded to the topic sprints, with the first step involving the addition of detailed approaches to open up the field, these approaches then being summarized and condensed once again (Figure 5). Finally, the four topics for the CAIS research programs were then selected.
Structuring the phases in line with the Double Diamond helped us to ensure that the entire process of identifying topics was participatory, co-creative and development-oriented (Figure 6). The entire process can be seen in this video.