Path creation in the railroad industry: Dimensions of design in IT-enabled innovation
Paper i proceeding, 2011

Taking a process research approach, we have followed a government agency in the railroad industry over a six-year-period as they have engaged in an IT-based innovation project. Providing empirical insights into this process and using path creation theory to analyse our case, we further our understanding of how IT-based innovations evolve over time by highlighting its multi-dimensional nature. We conclude that IT-based innovations cannot be fully understood from the material design dimension alone, i.e., by only focusing on the artefact. IT-based innovation affects and is affected also by what mental models we bring and what actors are engaged in the process. Our work thus contributes to the innovation research by showing that a focus on the material dimension only is insufficient and may result in a prolonged struggle that will not be resolved until looked upon also from a cognitive and/or organisational dimension. The inclusion of all these three dimensions from the outset may lessen the friction involved in IT-based innovation projects.

IT-based innovation

railroad industry

dimensions of design

path creation


Dick Stenmark

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of ECIS 2011



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