How should we move ahead….

At the 6th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM2009), I as a conference co-chair had the opportunity give a very short introduction speech.

As always in such occasions it is typically a speech with many nice words and hopes for the future. My speech was no exception. The only exception is that I personally believe that we as researchers in this domain seriously should make strong efforts in moving in this very direction. The road ahead will not be easy but from my perspective, our options are few. So what was my speech all about? Here are the key issues. Have in mind that I have removed the more ceremonial aspects of the speech.

We are all in the business of information technology in crisis response. What does this really mean? I do believe that there are some demands attached.

We as a community must make our very best not only in conducting high quality research and raise the quality standards of our mutual efforts. But also that we in the future, starting already today, must be able to deliver rigorous as well as relevant results to both academia and practice. If we neglect either side, we face the risk of losing substantial values that we as a community could provide.

So, we must apply existing methods and also develop new methods for end-user involvement, the participation of professionals in our design activities, as well as plan and execute collaborative projects targeting the perspectives of decision makers and policy-makers in local organizations and government agencies.

However this is not enough, we should also make stronger efforts in transferring our results into a market setting in order to ensure that more innovative products and services will become available for professional and grass-root users. We must release our prototypes from our labs and into the wild. And we should do this on a massive scale.

All these things are too much for anyone of us to carry out. Instead we must increase our efforts in establishing inter-disciplinary research teams. Not as a facade but because we see the true value of it.

The big question is, how many are willing to follow and move ahead along this bumpy road?

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