Mechanisms for Mindfulness in Designing Support Systems

UCC-BIS researcher Alexis Amaye has shared the abstract for the paper – ‘Incorporating Mechanisms for Mindfulness in Designing Support Systems for Multiagency Coordination in Emergency Management’

The paper has been submitted to the committee of the 9th European Conference on IS Management and Evaluation – (ECIME 2015) which takes place in Bristol on 21-22 September 2015.

Group decision support systems (GDSS) improve reliability in disaster situations where more than one emergency management agency is operating and have become common tools to support decision making for emergency management setting.

The design of these information systems for multi-agency use incorporates many factors including functionality, environmental constraints and system specifications. A complicated IT system in combined with the stresses of a crisis situation can impair the quality of decisions made when groups are collaborating in emergency management. 

Mindfulness is a key aspect of high reliability organisations and groups involved in preparedness and risk analysis, who need the capabilities to prevent, contain and recover from errors. 

Group decision support systems (GDSS) contain mechanisms which support mindful anticipation and containment and can be designed to improve capabilities to discover and manage unexpected events. 
The paper aims to identify GDSS process and methods that encourage mindfulness-based mechanisms associated with multiagency coordination in emergency management.

Awareness of the cognitive processes which occur in groups of strategic decision-makers in emergency situations should influence the design of support systems and tools that encourage positive feedback and counteract documented effects of disaster-induced stress.

In this paper, it is proposed that that system design should incorporate adaptive processes based on a rational comprehensive approach with features which allow users to make sense of the reality they face to make better collective decisions. This is an investigation into GDSS mechanisms that help achieve organisational reliability in complex, changing environments. Drawing from studies on DSS features which support real-time decision making among groups described in existing literature, this paper will examine the concept of incorporating mechanisms to promote mindfulness in support of multiagency coordination.  

The paper will also highlight mechanisms by which systems can assist groups to anticipate threats for improved initial emergency response by studying end-user requirements to reveal expectations on system functionality in the area of situational awareness.

GDSS can be designed to support emergency response steps taken to anticipate and contain hazards and threats, integrating a conceptual approach to influence performance outcomes.  
Meaningful real-time decisions are made when awareness encourages the construction and maintenance of a situation model, mindful of the critical needs of the operational picture. 

The creation of systems which help achieve organisational reliability through mindful-based design can ultimately improve the quality of decisions made in emergency situations.  They can also enhance the performance of multiple agencies coordinating in an emergency situation. 

The findings can be used by system designers and policy makers to frame development with to improve performance and make reliability an achievable goal.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015