DSS News 
                   D. J. Power, Editor 
             February 29, 2004 -- Vol. 5, No. 5
         A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM 

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* Ask Dan! - What is the relation between Design Science 
and building DSS?
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* DSS News Releases 


DAMA International Symposium & Wilshire Meta-Data Conference 
- Keynote Speaker Chris Date - May 2-6, 2004, Century Plaza 
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Ask Dan!
by Dan Power

What is the relation between Design Science and building DSS?

Some readers may recall that in my "Report from AMCIS 2003" (DSS News, 
August 17, 2003, Vol. 4, No. 17) I mentioned I had "an interesting chat 
with Omar El-Gayar about DSS and Design Science." In that report I 
promised to discuss Design Science and its relation to building DSS in 
some future Ask Dan! Since then Paul Gray, Editor of the Communications 
of the Association for Information Systems, has announced a new 
department on Information Technology and Systems (ITS) that focuses on 
articles in design science related to ITS. Al Hevner (Univ. of S. 
Florida) and Sal March (Vanderbilt) are the co-editors of the 
department.  Their recent editorial statement (Hevner & March, 2004) 
introduces the new department and its objectives.

There is definitely an increasing interest in ITS design science and 
IS/DSS researchers have a new outlet for publishing ITS design science 
research. So what does this mean for information systems practitioners 
and researchers interested in using technology to support decision 
makers and enhance decision processes? IMHO it means we need to better 
understand design science and determine what constitutes "good" design 
science research.

According to Hevner and March, "The goal of design-science research is 
the development and evaluation of technologies that extend the 
boundaries of human and organizational information-processing 
capabilities demonstrating the utility of such technologies to address 
problems or tasks not previously thought to be amenable to IT support 
(p. 109)."  Design science research is about building INNOVATIVE 
technology systems including Decision Support Systems and then 
evaluating them.

Design science is however much more than usability testing for an 
innovative DSS. The methods of usability testing can be used in design 
science research and the methods developed in academic empirical 
research can potentially improve usability testing. More design science 
research should lead to improved IT systems and methods in practice.

Based on a Google search it seems that R. Buckminster Fuller is the 
intellectual father of design science. So the roots of design science 
are in the disciplines of architecture and engineering. At the 
Buckminster Fuller Institute web site (, 
one finds an answer to the question "What is design science?" The FAQ 
page states "Design Science is a problem solving approach which entails 
a rigorous, systematic study of the deliberate ordering of the 
components in our Universe. Fuller believed that this study needs to be 
comprehensive in order to gain a global perspective when pursuing 
solutions to problems humanity is facing."

At the site, Fuller is quoted "The function of what I call design 
science is to solve problems by introducing into the environment new 
artifacts, the availability of which will induce their spontaneous 
employment by humans and thus, coincidentally, cause humans to abandon 
their previous problem-producing behaviors and devices."

Fuller was a technologist who encouraged invention and innovation. For 
many years engineering science has focused on the creation of 
"artifacts" and some ITS researchers need to follow that path. The term 
"artifact" is perhaps the way anthropologists in a 1000 years will 
describe our DSS, but in the present we need to focus on inventing 
innovative systems and technologies for supporting decision makers.

DSS practitioners and researchers need to distinguish between accident 
and design when building systems. DSS are designed! In the years ahead 
we must promote both the science and art of effective DSS design.



Buckminster Fuller Institute web site, .

Hevner, A. and S. T. March, "Editorial Statement: Information 
Technology and Systems (ITS) Department," Communications of the
Association for Information Systems, Volume 13, 2004, pp. 108-110.


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What's New? at DSSResources.COM

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02/21/2004 Posted case by Teradata Staff, "Closing the Tax Gap in Iowa". 
Check the cases page.

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DSS News - February 16 to February 27, 2004
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive

02/27/2004 ECRI develops web-based assessment tool targeting bariatric 

02/26/2004 Transforming data into intelligence enters new era with 
Acxiom customer information infrastructure.

02/26/2004 Ford launches intelligent highway revolution: 'smart' 
vehicles transmit where & how they are. 

02/26/2004 Most companies mix outsourcing and insourcing to optimize 
benefits administration, Watson Wyatt survey finds.

02/24/2004 Elsevier launches first wireless decision support product for 

02/24/2004 Hummingbird partners with Venetica to leverage distributed 
content for contract management, compliance and other business 

02/24/2004 Travelodge UK Board approves estate-wide rollout of IDeaS 
Revenue Optimization solution. 

02/23/2004 MindBox significantly expands ARTEnterprise product family. 

02/19/2004 Wireless use in Virginia Presidential primary draws positive 

02/19/2004 Matrics announces RFID interoperability with the Savi 
SmartChain(TM) software platform for greater real-time visibility into 
the supply chain. 

02/19/2004 16th annual DAMA International Symposium and 8th Annual 
Wilshire Meta-Data Conference May 2-6, 2004. 

02/19/2004 Intergraph education symposium demonstrates innovative 
geospatial research and teaching among academic community.

02/19/2004 Intergraph GeoSpatial World 2004 defines vision and 
strategies for interoperability solutions.

02/18/2004 Jewish General Hospital selects Cognos ReportNet.

02/17/2004 Actuate University launched; a set of programs designed to 
provide quality training and certification for Actuate customers, 
partners and employees. 

02/17/2004 Grange Insurance expands deployment with MicroStrategy Report 

02/16/2004 Teradata launches first maturity assessment consulting 
service for data warehouses.

02/16/2004 Enterprise email fraud threatens security of sensitive 
corporate information.

02/16/2004 Expertcity announces 'GoToMeeting' service with the power to 
transform online meetings.


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