Transforming the Future with Sensitivity to the Past
Convener: Doug Vogel
Panelists: Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic, Roger Clarke, Guy Gable
Transforming the future is an important topic within which sensitivity to the past plays an important role. Every discipline and association, at some point in time, recognizes the importance of systematically recording, discussing and disseminating its own history. The focus of this panel would be the history of our discipline as especially seen from a regional perspective. As Rudy Hirschheim, Carol Saunders and Detmar Straub note in the introduction to the JAIS special issue (Vol. 13, Issue 4, pp. i-viii, April 2012), “We believe that a study of the history of the IS discipline can foster understanding of where the discipline of IS has come from, what has happened in the discipline over the past forty-plus years, and how the discipline has evolved to the position it is in today.” They go on to note that “We believe that an historical grounding will also help identify important research areas and issues that confront the IS discipline today. Furthermore, it should help to form vision and an identity that can be shared among researchers in the discipline. Collectively, the insights derived from an historical analysis are a prerequisite for IS researchers to make informed judgments and engage in a discourse across the many specializations, which currently define the scope of IS research and teaching on where the IS discipline could and should go in the future.” This is the nature of transforming the future with sensitivity to the past.
The AIS now has an official historian, Ping Zhang, whose job it is to capture diverse perspectives that, in part, come from hosted panel sessions at major conferences. Each region has a history that has helped shaped the discipline as we know it and can be expected, as well, to contribute to transforming the future in business, education and the discipline. AIS hopes to maintain the legacy and heritage of the IS field by starting now when many pioneers in our field are still among us and memories are relatively fresh. As part of the first initiatives, the AIS History Committee is organizing panels at IS conferences, including ECIS, PACIS, AMCIS and ICIS. This is one type of activity that will help collect as well as communicate/share the IS history with the community. The main idea is to invite influential pioneers in our field as the panellists to offer their memories, opinions, suggestions, and share such with the audience. Going beyond that, we hope to contribute to an organizational memory for our discipline that, in part, can help establish a body of knowledge as well as some degree of insight for the future. In that way, a sense of history can open the door to opportunities and encourage shared learning and collaboration within the membership. As such, transforming the future with sensitivity to the past can become reality.