Methodology for the Introduction
of New Technology in the Workplace


A methodology to be used for: planning, deploying, and evaluating, the introduction of new technology in organizations.

The method provides a series of modules that cover all aspects of the adoption process. It is specifically designed to be responsive to the needs of the participating organization - the modular format encourages custom tailoring of the method within each organization.

A number of techniques are used to :

* identify the key issues that need to be considered at each stage

* provide an analysis of the issues within the context of the organization, it's employees, their work practices and existing technologies

* offer a strategy for deploying the technology which involves the users and takes into account the organizational culture and current work practices evaluate the adoption process

Methodology and Modules:

There are three basic stages in the process of introducing new technology into an organization - planning, installation or deployment and evaluation. Associated with each stage are a number of issues, the relevance of which must be understood in the context of the innovating organization. The approach developed by the Telepresence Project provides:

a series of modules for gathering the essential information at each stage,

a series of techniques to provide a bridge between the stages.

. 1 Stages in the Introduction of New Technology

I. Planning Stage

Given the expense of new systems and the high cost to the organisation, both financial and in terms of morale, of failure to adopt, it is crucial to evaluate organizational readiness. The crucial issues at this stage focus on this factor. We recognize that innovation frequently fails for social, and not technical reasons.

At this stage we look at the workplace and the organization from a variety of perspectives - e.g., work practices, structure, technology. Modules that may be relevant here include:

* OCC; Organization Climate and Culture -Pre Installation

* IEA; Identification of Early Adopters

* CNS; Communication Network Survey - Pre Installation

* TFUI; Technology Familiarity and Use Inventory

* WPA; Work Practices Analysis - Pre Installation

The results from this stage will condition the remainder of the process.

If a decision is made to proceed we move to the First Transition Stage:

Transition to Deployment

In this period it is essential to get the future users of the technology involved. The modules developed for this stage focus on encouraging the future users to become stakeholders in the adoption process. The modules at this stage include:

* Users Group

* Introduction to the Technology including, Envisionment Techniques

* Participatory Design Sessions in particular, Interface Designpar

These modules are tailor-made to address the issues identified in the Planning Stage.

II. Deployment /Installation

The user is the focus of this stage, both at the individual level and through the Users Group. The modules at this stage include:

* Training

* Documentation

* Support

* Organizational

* Technical

* Participatory Design Sessions

* Equipment Setup

* Interface Design Issues

Transition to Evaluation

This is a relatively short period during which the technical aspects of the system are stabilized and the users gain experience with the system. The Users Group remains the focus at this stage, providing a forum for discussion and sharing of experiences.

The information gathered at the Users Group allows for fine tuning of the system and processes.

III. Evaluation

In the final stage there is a formal evaluation of the process. Modules include:

* OCC; Organization Climate and Culture - Post Installation

* CNS; Communication Network Survey - Post Installation

* WPA; Work Practices Analysis - Post Installation


The strength of this approach is that it has been developed by research team, has been tested in the field in real working organizations, and has been used in the introduction of an unfamiliar and highly innovative technology which involves the use of video in the workplace.

Research Team

* The methodology is informed by a philosophy which incorporates and respects the end user, and is grounded in social science theory. The method has been developed by an interdisciplinary team which includes behavioural scientists, sociologists, human computer interface designers and computer scientists.

Field Study

* The methodology is being tested in the field in organisations that are introducing Telepresence systems.

Innovative technology

* The technology for which this methodology was developed is concerned with the introduction into the workplace of technology which incorporates video. The use of video is unfamiliar in most workplaces and raises a number of issues which can thwart adoption. Thus, the method has been tested under strict conditions


None externally, but internally we need to get copyright protection/intellectual property protection for final documents (e.g., social science instruments, concepts, techniques, etc.)