Enabling boundary-crossing collaboration for innovation : issues for collaborative working environments

Sammanfattning: In this thesis, boundary-crossing collaborative knowledge work aiming for innovation and use of ICT is in focus. The starting point for the research was the proposition that we still have much to learn about boundary- crossing collaboration for innovation and the use of ICT before we can design enabling and supporting ICT and collaborative working environments. Thus, the purpose has been to study and understand collaborative boundary- crossing working groups' activities, as a way to extend the possibilities to design enabling and supporting ICT. To meet this purpose, I wanted to answer the question: How can boundary-crossing collaboration aiming for innovation be enabled in collaborative working environments? Three case studies, with somewhat different focuses, methods and also results, have been performed. Different models as frameworks for both analysis and design have been used in the cases. Main conclusions and contributions of the thesis are given as lessons learned, related to four main areas which were identified from analysis of case data. The first set of conclusions is related to processes and factors enabling knowledge work across boundaries. These are: application of energizing factors, use of boundary objects, addressing roles, norms, values and knowledge assets and, finally, creating dedicated places and spaces. The second set of conclusions is related to ICT issues in boundary- crossing knowledge work. These are: choice of technology, shared virtual platform and models for appreciating technology needs. The third set of conclusions is related to the importance of appreciation of user needs, and methods for this, in the process of designing or developing a collaborative working environment. The fourth set of conclusions comes in the form of reflections on the theoretical models that have been used during the research. There is a need for models and methods that enable design of collaborative environments, as well as models and methods that enable this to be done from a user needs perspective. From the lessons learned, some overarching reflections on implications for collaborative working environments are made. Hence, implications for CWEs as a whole, and some ideas on future research, are presented in the form of a tentative model which can be viewed as a model for designing group processes and relevant technology in a CWE. In this model, designing a CWE and its processes imply more that just designing technology. To conclude, the thesis contributes to the understanding of organisational processes for boundary-crossing collaborative knowledge work through lessons learned, which, in turn, give implications for CWEs.