ITU appoints new professor in digital design

Minna Isomursu has joined ITU as a professor in interaction design and co-design in the university’s Digital Design department. At ITU she will among other things continue her research on improving health care services using data.

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The IT University of Copenhagen has appointed Minna Isomursu as professor of interaction and co-design from January 1, 2017. She comes from a position as professor at the University of Oulu in northern Finland. Through her career, Minna Isomursu has held several positions within both academia and in private sector companies such as Nokia. In the last ten years, her research has focused on design of digital services, co-design and participatory design, particularly within the health sector.

Using digital data in health care
At ITU, Minna Isomursu will continue her research within health. Currently, she is especially interested in how personal data can be used to improve services in health care. Making data accessible and actionable for patients and doctors alike is a challenge that is not purely technical, she explains.

"The vast amount of different kinds of health data is really challenging from a user perspective, because it is very difficult to get a holistic understanding of the data available. It is also really difficult to get access to the data in the first place because it is scattered in different places," says Minna Isomursu.

She believes that service design is necessary for making data more accessible as well as creating value and impact from raw data. Currently, Minna Isomursu supervises PhD projects on making personal health data more accessible to patients and using data to design personalized care pathways.

Design should create value for all
Previously, Minna Isomursu has conducted several research projects on digital services for old adults. One of these offered old adults with meal-on-wheels service the opportunity to select meals using their mobile phones. It turned out that the technical aspect was not a problem for the old adults participating in the study. However, the option to choose between fish soup or meatballs did not give them any extra value – they were happy with the food in any case.

This example shows that the main challenge in creating new IT solutions is often not about usability or the technology itself, but rather identifying exactly where you can add value, says Minna Isomursu.

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We can add digital components to lots of existing services. The challenge is usually not the technology, but identifying cases and constellations where you can create value for all parties.

Professor Minna Isomursu
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"Within service design, the thinking is that a service is only successful if it creates value for everybody - the company that provides the service, the employees and the customers. We can add digital components to lots of existing services. The challenge is usually not the technology, but identifying cases and constellations where you can create value for all parties," she says.

Clash of design traditions
Another challenge when it comes to developing new IT services today, for instance within health care, is the clash between different design traditions, says Minna Isomursu.

"We have a service design tradition on one side and an IT design tradition on the other, and the two are very different. In IT, the methods are very precise and exact, while service design has a more creative and free format. Increasingly, we have digital services where we need to combine service design with design of digital assets. Today, we do not have many methods for combining the two approaches in a way that allows us to build end-to-end service pathways with seamlessly integrated information systems that involve all relevant persons, such as patients, physicians, security designers and data engineers, in the design process," she says.

Further information

Minna Isomursu, Professor, phone +45 7218 5352, email miis@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk