Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 31–50 | Cite as

Scenario-Based Design Theorizing

The Case of a Digital Idea Screening Cockpit
  • Raffaele Fabio CirielloEmail author
  • Alexander Richter
Research Paper


As ever more companies encourage employees to innovate, a surplus of ideas has become reality in many organizations – often exceeding the available resources to execute them. Building on insights from a literature review and a 3-year collaboration with a banking software provider, the paper suggests a Digital Idea Screening Cockpit (DISC) to address this challenge. Following a design science research approach, it suggests a prescriptive design theory that provides practitioner-oriented guidance for implementing a DISC. The study shows that, in order to facilitate the assessment, selection, and tracking of ideas for different stakeholders, such a system needs to play a dual role: It needs to structure decision criteria and at the same be flexible to allow for creative expression. Moreover, the paper makes a case for scenario-based design theorizing by developing design knowledge via scenarios.


Scenario-based design theorizing Scenario-based design Employee-driven innovation Digital innovation Idea screening Idea evaluation Idea selection Idea tracking 



We thank the employees of BITS for their openness and support. We also thank our ambitious students from the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich for assisting in this study. In alphabetical order: David Bolli, Fabian Gautschi, Daniel Oettli, Luis Pena, and Annatina Vinzens. Last but not least, we thank Gerhard Schwabe for providing guidance and helpful suggestions.


  1. Andrew JP, Manget J, Michael DC, Taylor A, Zablit H (2010) Innovation 2010: a return to prominence – and the emergence of a new world order. Boston Consulting Group, BostonGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlsson SA, Henningsson S, Hrastinski S, Keller C (2011) Socio-technical IS design science research: developing design theory for IS integration management. Inf Syst e-Bus Manag 9:109–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chakrabarti AK, Hauschildt J (1989) The division of labor in innovation management. R&D Manag 19(2):161–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chesbrough HW (2003) Open innovation: the new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Harvard Business Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  5. Christensen C (1997) The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Harvard Business Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  6. Christensen CM, Raynor ME (2003) The innovators solution: creating and sustaining successful growth. Harvard Business Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  7. Ciriello RF, Richter A (2015) Idea hubs as nexus of collective creativity in digital innovation. In: Proceedings of the 36th international conference on information systems, Fort WorthGoogle Scholar
  8. Ciriello RF, Richter A, Schwabe G (2017) From process to practice: towards a practice-based model of digital innovation. In: Proceedings of the 38th international conference on information systems, SeoulGoogle Scholar
  9. DeCuir-Gunby JT, Marshall PL, McCulloch AW (2011) Developing and using a codebook for the analysis of interview data: an example from a professional development research project. Field Methods 23(2):136–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Desouza KC (2011) Intrapreneurship: managing ideas within your organization. University of Toronto Press, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  11. Desouza KC, Dombrowski C, Awazu Y, Baloh P, Papagari S, Jha S, Kim JY (2009) Crafting organizational innovation processes. Innov: Manag, Policy Pract 11(1):6–33Google Scholar
  12. Drechsler A, Hevner AR (2018) Utilizing, producing, and contributing design knowledge in DSR projects. In: Chatterjee S, Dutta K, Sundarraj R (eds) Designing for a digital and globalized world. In: Proceedings of the 13th international conference DESRIST 2018, ChennaiGoogle Scholar
  13. Eason KD (2005) Information technology and organizational change. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  14. Etemad H, Lee Y (2003) The knowledge network of international entrepreneurship: theory and evidence. Small Bus Econ 20(1):5–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ettlie JE, Bridges WP, O’keefe RD (1984) Organization strategy and structural differences for radical versus incremental innovation. Manag Sci 30(6):682–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fichman RG (2004) Real options and IT platform adoption: implications for theory and practice. Inf Syst Res 15(2):132–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fichter K (2009) Innovation communities: the role of networks of promotors in open innovation. R&D Manag 39(4):357–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gama N, da Silva MM, Ataíde J (2007) Innovation scorecard: a balanced scorecard for measuring the value added by innovation. In: Cunha PF, Maropoulos PG (eds) Digital enterprise technology. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gregersen H, Dyer JH, Christensen CM (2011) The innovator’s DNA. Harvard Business Review Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  20. Gregor S, Hevner AR (2013) Positioning and presenting design science research for maximum impact. MIS Q 37:337–A6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gregor S, Hovorka DS (2011) Causality: the elephant in the room in information systems epistemology. In: Proceedings of the 19th European conference on information systems (ECIS). Helsinki, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  22. Gregor S, Jones D (2007) The anatomy of a design theory. J Assoc Inf Syst 8(5):312–335Google Scholar
  23. Gregor S, Müller O, Seidel S (2013) Reflection, abstraction, and theorizing in design and development research. In: Proceedings of the 21st European conference on information systems (ECIS). Utrecht, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  24. Gressgard LJ, Amundsen O, Aasen T, Hansen K (2014) Use of information and communication technology to support employee-driven innovation in organizations: a knowledge management perspective. J Knowl Manag 18(4):633–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hering D, Phillips J (2005) Innovation roles: the people you need for successful innovation. White Paper. NetCentrics Corporation, HerndonGoogle Scholar
  26. Hevner AR, March ST, Park J, Ram S (2004) Design science in information systems research. MIS Q 28(1):75–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Høyrup S, Hasse C, Bonnafous-Boucher M, Møller K, Lotz M (2012) Employee-driven innovation: a new approach. Palgrave Macmillan, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Iivari J (2015) Distinguishing and contrasting two strategies for design science research. Eur J Inf Syst 24:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kemerer CF (1992) Now the learning curve affects CASE tool adoption. IEEE Softw 9(3):23–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kesting P, Ulhøi J (2010) Employee-driven innovation: extending the license to foster innovation. Manag Decis 48(1):65–84. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Khazanchi S, Lewis MW, Boyer KK (2007) Innovation-supportive culture: the impact of organizational values on process innovation. J Oper Manag 25(4):871–884CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krueger RA (2009) Focus groups: a practical guide for applied research. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee JS, Pries-Heje J, Baskerville R (2011) Theorizing in design science research. In: Proceedings of the 6th international conference on design science research in information systems and technology (DESRIST). MilwaukeeGoogle Scholar
  34. Lindič J, Baloh P, Ribière VM, Desouza KC (2011) Deploying information technologies for organizational innovation. Int J Inf Manag 31(2):183–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Markus ML, Silver MS (2008) A foundation for the study of IT effects: a new look at DeSanctis and Poole’s concepts of structural features and spirit. J Assoc Inf Syst 9:609–632Google Scholar
  36. Meth H, Mueller B, Maedche A (2015) Designing a requirement mining system. J Assoc Inf Syst 16:799Google Scholar
  37. Meyer M (2000) Innovation roles: from souls of fire to devil’s advocates. J Bus Commun 37(4):328–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miles MB, Huberman AM (1994) Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  39. Mollick E (2014) The dynamics of crowdfunding: an exploratory study. J Bus Venturing 29(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Neyer A-K, Bullinger AC, Moeslein KM (2009) Integrating inside and outside innovators: a sociotechnical systems perspective. R&D Manag 39(4):410–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osterwalder A, Pigneur Y (2010) Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Peffers K, Tuunanen T, Rothenberger MA, Chatterjee S (2007) A design science research methodology for information systems research. J Manag Inf Syst 24(3):45–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peppard J, Ward J (2004) Beyond strategic information systems: towards an IS capability. The J Strateg Inf Syst 13(2):167–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peppard J, Ward J, Daniel E (2007) Managing the realization of business benefits from IT investments. MIS Q Exec 6(1):1–11Google Scholar
  45. Richter A, Heinrich P, Stocker A, Schwabe G (2018) Digital work design. Bus Inf Syst Eng 60(3):259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Riedl C, Blohm I, Leimeister JM, Krcmar H (2010) Rating scales for collective intelligence in innovation communities. In: Proceedings of the international conference on information systems, St. LouisGoogle Scholar
  47. Roberts EB, Fusfeld AR (1988) Critical functions: needed roles in the innovation process. In: Katz R (ed) Managing professionals in innovative organizations. Harper Collins, New York, pp 101–120Google Scholar
  48. Robinson AG, Schroeder DM (2014) The idea-driven organization: unlocking the power in bottom-up ideas. Berrett-Koehler, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  49. Rogers EM (2010) Diffusion of innovations. Free press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Rosson MB, Carroll JJM (2002) Usability engineering [electronic resource]: scenario-based development of human-computer interaction. Morgan Kaufmann, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  51. Rosson MB, Carroll JM (2009) Scenario based design. In: Sears A, Jacko JA (eds) Human-computer interaction: development process. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 145–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sarasvathy SD (2001) Causation and effectuation: toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Acad Manag Rev 26(2):243–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schönwälder S (2013) Portfoliomanagement für betriebliche Informationssysteme. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  54. Schulze T, Indulska M, Geiger D, Korthaus A (2012) Idea assessment in open innovation: a state of practice. In: Proceedings of the European conference on information systems, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  55. Star SL, Griesemer JR (1989) Institutional ecology, translations and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Soc Stud Sci 19(3):387–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stringer R (2000) How to manage radical innovation. Calif Manag Rev 42(4):70–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Swap W, Leonard D, Mimi Shields LA (2001) Using mentoring and storytelling to transfer knowledge in the workplace. J Manag Inf Syst 18:95–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tidd J, Bessant J (2011) Managing innovation: integrating technological, market and organizational change. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  59. Tortoriello M, McEvily B, Krackhardt D (2014) Being a catalyst of innovation: the role of knowledge diversity and network closure. Organ Sci 26(2):423–438. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Trauffler G (2005) Strategic management of discontinuous technologies and radical innovation. ETH Zürich, ZürichGoogle Scholar
  61. van Aken JE (2004) Management research based on the paradigm of the design sciences: the quest for field-tested and grounded technological rules. J manag stud 41:219–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Riel AC, Semeijn J, Hammedi W, Henseler J (2011) Technology-based service proposal screening and decision-making effectiveness. Manag Decis 49(5):762–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vantrappen HJ, Metz PD (1996) Measuring the performance of the innovation process. Prism 1996:25–26Google Scholar
  64. Veugelers R, Cassiman B (1999) Make and buy in innovation strategies: evidence from Belgian manufacturing firms. Res Policy 28(1):63–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Voelpel SC, Leibold M, Eckhoff RA (2006) The tyranny of the balanced scorecard in the innovation economy. J Intellect Cap 7(1):43–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. vom Brocke J, Simons A, Niehaves B, Reimer K, Plattfaut R, Cleven A (2009) Reconstructing the giant: on the importance of rigour in documenting the literature search process. In: Proceedings of the European conference on information systems, VeronaGoogle Scholar
  67. Walls JG, Widmeyer GR, El Sawy OA (1992) Building an information system design theory for vigilant EIS. Inf Syst Res 3:36–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Walker RM (2008) An empirical evaluation of innovation types and organizational and environmental characteristics: towards a configuration framework. J Publ Admin Res Theory 18(4):591–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Walsham G (2006) Doing interpretive research. Eur J Inf Syst 15(3):320–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Weick KE (1995) What theory is not, theorizing is. Admin Sci Q 40:385–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wickson F, Carew AL, Russell AW (2006) Transdisciplinary research: characteristics, quandaries and quality. Futures 38(9):1046–1059. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Yoo Y, Henfridsson O, Lyytinen K (2010) Research commentary – The new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research. Inf Syst Res 21(4):724–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yoo Y, Boland RJ Jr, Lyytinen K, Majchrzak A (2012) Organizing for innovation in the digitized world. Organ Sci 23(5):1398–1408CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations