Dokumentationspraktik vid krishantering

I tisdags presenterade jag resultat från mitt post-doc projekt “Dokumentationspraktik vid Krishantering” vid MSBs forskardag i Stockholm. En av huvudkomponenterna i resultaten är att det är stor skillnad i förmåga att dokumentera beroende på om organisationen följer ett händelseförlopp jämfört om organisationen skall leda operativa insatser vid ett händelseförlopp. Det är inte bara en skillnad i förmåga utan också skillnader avseende den information som produceras och de systemstöd som används. I nuvarande föreställningar kring hur dokumentation vid insatser och kriser bör gå till tas det ingen hänsyn till dessa skillnader. Det saknas dessutom systemstöd som är anpassade för dessa radikalt olika situationer. Resultaten kommer att paketeras i en bok för svenska krishanteringsaktörer. Presentationen från forskardagen finns tillgänglig via slidehshare.

Designing "transitional hooks" to improve the adoption rate of new technology

During the last year, insights has emerged that there seems to be some really important knowledge missing related to challenges in adopting new information technology. We do know how people make sense of technology and how the sensemaking processes has impact on the adoption curve. We also know that there is a difference between intended use and actual use when it comes to how users translate the designers technology inscriptions. We know that the stuff we put in the hands of the user must be useful and meaningful. We know also the importance of usability and staying within budget constraints. However, we do not know how we can materialize mechanisms that increase the speed and shorten the adoption time of new technology.
This is not about marketing and persuading the user to try and buy. Rather it seems to be a matter of designing “transitional hooks” between the existing technology in use and the new technology. To my understanding, there seems to be few study on what such transitional hooks consist of and how they could speed up the adoption rate. Further, we have limited knowledge in how such transitions could be triggered as well as managed. There are studies of the challenges of switching from one email-platform to another. But these examples aka always an organizational perspective. My focus reside more on the individual level and how we as technology designers could use some form of consumer-oriented approaches to reach these transitional effects. In the area of emergency and crisis response, such transitional effects are important in order to enable technological shifts and avoid stabilizing a practice with old or even outdated technology support.
Here, I do believe that our community of IT-designers have a substantial and open-field to explore.

Lyckad Projektworkshop Liveresponse Fas3

Igår hade vi en lyckad workshop i projektet Liveresponse Fas3. Projektet finansieras av Security Arena vid Lindholmen Science Park, Fordon och Trafiksäkerhetscentret SAFER vid Chalmers Tekniska Högskola samt Viktoriainstitutet. Deltagarna i workshopen kom från Räddningstjänsten i Södra Älvsborg, Helsingborgs Brandförsvar, Södertörns räddningstjänst samt SOS-alarm. Under workshopet presenterades resultaten från Liveresponse Fas2 som avslutades i mars. Vidare fick deltagarna möjlighet att själva testa att sända mobil live video från olika mobiltelefoner och ta del av videon i en den driftsatta-version av applikationen LiveResponse. Efter lunchpausen diskuterades de reflektionsfrågor som deltagarna fått ta del av inför workshopen. Frågorna berörde vilka nyttoaspekter, negativa konsekvenser som kan finnas med mobil video från räddningsinsatser. Dessutom diskuterades de utmaningar som kan uppstå när den här typen av ny teknik introduceras i en verksamhet. Avslutningsvis fick deltagarna möjlighet att använda de implementerade FAS3-designkoncepten. Fokus i dessa koncept var olika typer av funktionalitet för att arbeta med den högre videokvalité som nu är möjlig att live-streama. Workshopen var mycket lyckad och det var väldigt roligt att se hur designteamet bakom LiveResponse tillsammans med representanter för olika räddningstjänster diskuterade de behov och möjligheter som mobil live video kan ge för användning vid räddningsinsatser.

How the past might help us when facing rapidly evolving situations.

Today we started a new project where we will try to make use of historical data in order to provide queues for sensemaking in rapidly evolving situations. The whole concept is a result of an in-depth discussion with a senior commanders at the local fire and rescue services. Many organizations have tons of data describing past events/incidents. Many of the really useful information is hidden within poorly exploited free-text fields in a database that was designed for storing data but not for exploring insights.

We are aiming to make use of that data and look for what we call particulars in historical data in order to transform these bits and pieces into specifics. The specifics are small pieces of info that might say something really important in a situation that is currently evolving. We do understand that what we are aiming for here is not new as a concept. But we do believe that the design of this type of systems could be vastly improved in order to better fit a time-critical work practice. Our intention is not to flood a commander with a tsunami of data but to provide a gentle drizzle of info to trigger new ways of exploring complex situation.

We would like to invite and involve anyone of you to work with us on this project. So please let us know how you would like to contribute. We are looking for both industrial, academical and professional responders to become part of this network-based projects.

Please email us at: or

Invited speaker at MEX2010

Last week, on the 19th of may, I attended the Mobile User Experience Conference (MEX2010). MEX is an industry strategy forum exploring the techniques and strategies for creating great mobile user experience in a multi-platform digital environment. It was a great two-day event and as an invited speaker, I was given the opportunity to share some of the insights from the work in our research group as well as from our start-up IDEAviate. My topic was “Multi-platform user experience design – learning from crisis situations”.

It was great to network with industry people to learn more about what frame their thinking. One of the most valuable things was to talk with Heather Martin, Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design, on all the opportunities that exists for designing really innovative solutions that targets voice in broad terms and not just as a simple voice-to-text interaction. It was very clear that Heather had a great balance between practical design experience and theoretical base for her ideas. MEX2010 was a great conference.

Workshop on Crisis Mass-Communication

On thursday last week, I ran a workshop on Crisis Mass-Communication. The workshop was part of an EU-project with SOS-alarm (The National 112-Dispatch Organization) and MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) as primary participants. A key reflection is the dynamics and also complexity to talk about the possibilities of a future system while at the same time not get stuck in aspects of how crisis response is organized today. An important tool in such discussion could perhaps be a transition model where workshop participants can see a smooth link between present and future. In general when we have design workshops, with students and professionals, we tend to become colored, too much, of what exists today and the problems we experience today. The focus should instead be on what works today and how can we leverage the mechanisms of what works and reinforce those properties for the future solution. To balance between what exists and what could exists is a fun but complex task.

Mobile phones and emergency response

The other day, I re-visted some older papers on how mobile phones and emergency response. I would like to highlight a paper on the WIPER-system that outlines some nice new ideas of how the mobile phone infrastructure could provide new means to better understand an evolving situation.

Timothy Schoenharl : Ryan Bravo : Greg Madey

This paper describes the Wireless Phone-based Emergency Response (WIPER) system. WIPER is designed to provide emergency planners and responders with an integrated system that will help to detect possible emergencies, as well as to suggest and evaluate possible courses of action to deal with the emergency. The system is designed as a distributed system using web services and the service oriented architecture. Components of the system for detecting and mitigating emergency situations can be added and removed from the system as the need arises. WIPER is designed to evaluate potential plans of action using a series of GIS-enabled Agent-Based simulations that are grounded on realtime data from cell phone network providers. The system relies on the DDDAS concept, the interactive use of partial aggregate and detailed realtime data to continuously update the system, which ensures that simulations always present timely and pertinent data. WIPER presents information to users through a web-based interface of several overlaid layers of information, allowing users rich detail and flexibility.


ISCRAM2010 – 7th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management
Defining Crisis Management 3.0
May 2-5, 2010
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Seattle Washington USA

Link to: Call For Papers & Submission deadlines

HCD – Human Centered Design……IDEO did it again!

A few weeks ago, the world famous design company IDEO, released the HCD-toolkit. The Human Centered Design approach is “an open-source toolkit that inspires new solutions to difficult challenges with human-centered design”[]. The toolkit has been developed for social change projects but could equally as well be used for any other design project. I found great inspiration from this toolkit. The toolkit consists of all the well-known techniques and methods we have been used over the years. But the key thing with the IDEO HCD-toolkit is the well-designed packaging.
The HCD-toolkit is open-source so I would assume that it will be free to adapt the toolkit.
At the ISCRAM PhD-student Summershool in Tilburg in the end of august, we will use the HCD in a Crisis Response Design Camp-event focusing on IT-use for Citizens Crisis Preparedness and Response. The HCD-Toolkit will be great to use in order to inspire and promote learning among the PhD-students in using a design approach in the area of IS/IT and crisis response.

The HCD-toolkit is available for download at

More information about ISCRAM is available at

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?

Mobile Crisis Response App-store

Today, I had an excellent talk with Aida and Negar at the Software Engineering & Management Program at the Department of Applied IT at the Gothenburg University. Aida and Negar has started to work on a project where they will explore the idea of a work-domain specific app-store for crisis response. Such type of an App-store is to some extent i sharp contrast to the platform specific App-stores developed by Apple. Google, RIM, Nokia, SonyEricsson, and LG. Aida and Negar presented their results from an initial survey of the different platforms and it was evident in the discussion that followed, that Iphone and S60/Nokia platforms are to underlying complexity and the need to have a “certified/signed” application.
In their work, they will instead focus on the Android platform and Windows Mobile. Android feels very fresh, but Windows Mobile is from my perspective not the hottest platform for innovative design. But there are many many Windows Mobile devices out there, especially among higher ranking managers in organisations dealing with crisis management. The installed base should always be considered.
Aida and Negar is now moving forward with their project and the next step will be to learn more about Android and Android Market. Insights from the platform and the App-store( or market) will provide valuable input for requirement specification and design. During the autumn, the perhaps provoking plan is to open up a small but working App-store for the Swedish Crisis Response Community. Anyone that would like to contribute in this work are welcome to join in this exciting effort.

Crisis Response App-store?

In the last few weeks, I have started to become more and more interested in how the whole App-store phenomena might be used in the emergency and crisis response domain. Would it be possible for a consumer oriented business model work in our domain? What are the key issues that must be solved in order to provide a US or European Crisis Response App-store?
Or if we shift perspective, Why would it fail? I would be more that happy to hear your insights on this topic.

A conceptual illustration with some of the current and future applications in Swedish Emergency and Crisis Response: