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Keynote Lecture


From Representation to Mediation: Modeling Information Systems in a Digital World

Jan Recker
University of Cologne

Brief Bio
Prof Dr Jan Recker is Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow, Chaired Professor for Information Systems at the University of Cologne, and Adjunct Professor at the QUT Business School, Australia.

In his research he explores the intersection of technology, people and work. He works with particularly large organizations, such as Woolworths, SAP, Hilti, Commonwealth Bank, Lufthansa, Ubisoft, federal and state governments, and with particularly small organizations ("start-ups") in the consumer goods, information techology, and financial sectors. He tackles questions such as:
• How do small and large organizations deal with digital innovation and transformation?
• How do products and processes change through digitalization?
• How can digital solutions help building a sustainable future?

Jan's research in these areas draws on quantitative, qualitative and mixed field methods. His research has appeared in leading information systems, management science, software engineering, project management, computer science, and sociology journals. He has also written popular textbooks on scientific research and data analysis, which are in use in over 500 institutions in over 60 countries. He ranks as one of the most published information systems academics of all time. In 2019, he was named #1 business researcher under 40 years of age by the German Magazine Wirtschaftswoche. He was the youngest academic ever to be named an AIS fellow in 2018.

The role of information systems is changing in an increasingly digitalized world. Does this situation mean that established conceptual modeling practices relevant to the analysis and design of systems must change as well? In this talk, I will answer this question with a definite and affirmative “yes”. I will review the traditional assumptions around the conceptual modeling of information systems and demonstrate how advances in digital technology increasingly challenge these assumptions. I will then present a new framework for conceptual modeling that is consistent with the emerging requirements of a digital world. The framework draws attention to the role of conceptual models as mediators between physical and digital realities. It identifies new research questions about grammars, methods, scripts, agents, and contexts that are situated in intertwined physical and digital realities. I will discuss several implications for conceptual modeling scholarship for systems analysis and design that relate to the necessity of developing new methods and grammars for conceptual modeling, broadening the methodological array of conceptual modeling scholarship, and considering new dependent variables.