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Digital Disruption Research Group

Uncovering how digital technology impacts the way we see the world
We look beyond the hype to see how digital technology is radically changing how we make sense of, give meaning to, and understand our everyday lives.

About us

Digital disruption refers to the changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a speed and scale that transform established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and, more generally, how we think.

Digital disruption can pose a threat or provide an opportunity, invalidating existing business models while facilitating the creation of innovative new ones. It can occur on various levels, disrupting life, work and business practices, industry structures and societal systems.

We need a better understanding of how to cope with and shape disruption, how to engage in sense-making processes to advance our understanding of industry and business, and how to innovate and adapt as digital disruption unfolds.

The Digital Disruption Research Group brings together academic and industry professionals to explore and respond to the wider topic areas of digital disruption, technology in business and the future of business and work. We do this through academic research and also engaged research, via Sydney Business Insights.

Our work

Learn more about our engaged research, reports and weekly podcast.

What is digital disruption?

Professor Kai Riemer discusses concepts of digital disruption and the group's work

Our research

Learn more about our recent research grants

Investigators: Professor Kai Riemer, Professor Robert Johnston, Associate Professor Uri Gal

This project will investigate how silence emerges in teams, what sustains it, and how it affects error and safety outcomes. Employees often choose to remain silent about important issues at work, which can have devastating consequences. Although silence is a complex individual phenomenon, there is little knowledge of silence as a collective phenomenon, or how it spreads and becomes the norm in teams and organisations. This project will investigate silence using multilevel, longitudinal designs and by testing novel interventions. This research is expected to affect how teams work and communicate effectively to reduce dangerous forms of silence and improve safety.

Investigator: Professor Kai Riemer

Behavioural research is a significant component of the annual spend in Australia on research and development. It is contended that 'best practice' behavioural research methods can be more systematised, transparent and visible; facilitating more complex, integrated and holistic research designs; and thereby, more cumulative and comparable results; thus enabling increased rigour, higher productivity and lower risk than have generally been the experience historically. This project proposes the formal conceptualisation and modelling of behavioural science research methods, by adapting them to the research design, the well understood concepts, tools and techniques of Information Systems design. Results are expected to form the conceptual basis of 'Research Design Systems’.

This project is concerned with public safety, looking closely at how social media communication patterns can be analysed to support Emergency Service Agencies (ESA) during a crisis response.

It seeks to develop:

  • A better understanding and more effective use of social media by ESA and the general public during a crisis;
  • Effective use of social media real time communication during crisis events by ESA to better ensure public safety;
  • Utilisation of social media communications by ESA for better resource allocation; and
  • Identification and fast mitigation of rumors by ESA to de-escalate crisis situations and influence and facilitate public safety in the field.

Investigator: Professor Kai Riemer

Innovation in service economies depends increasingly on how well organisations are able to generate, manage and share knowledge in the face of geographic distribution, which tends to breed knowledge pockets and reinventing-the-wheel phenomena. A new type of technology, social media platforms such as Wikis or Blogs emerging from the public Internet, promises to offer a user-centred approach to address this challenge. For this project we have access to a large multi-national consultancy with 90,000 employees and its Enterprise Microblogging (EMB) user population. EMB is a Twitter-like service to facilitate open short-message communication, with the aim to move knowledge exchanges from private email inboxes to a public, organisation-wide communication space. With the proposed partnership we aim to:

  • investigate knowledge sharing, communication and information management practices in EMB (using genre, content and media analysis);
  • identify challenges in the adoption and use of EMB; and
  • understand and support development of communication policy and management guidelines in social media and knowledge management.

The study will support (genre) analysis of EMB communications through in-depth interviews with users and decision makers in Europe and Australia. Our research design is based on jointly collecting and analysing data so that the complementary expertise of the research team can be fully utilised. We will disseminate our findings through academic outlets and workshops with industry participants.

Our people

Meet our academics, researchers and associates.

  • Alex Dean, Clade Solutions
  • Balsam Al-Dabbagh, Step Two Design
  • Benjamin Elias, Adopt &  Embrace
  • Cai Kjaer, CEO and co-founder, SWOOP Analytics
  • Caroline Alcorso, National Disability Services
  • Connie Henson, Learning Quest
  • Fiona McLean, The Social Index
  • Jakkii Musgrave, Ripple Effect Group
  • James Dellow, Digital Workplace  Company
  • Mark Woodrow, International Association of Business Communicators
  • Matt Moore, Seven West Media
  • Paul Galland, Flipside Enterprise  Services
  • Scott Ward, Digital Infusions
  • Dr Sharna Wiblen, The University of  Wollongong
  • Simon Terry, Bank First
  • Simon Townsend, twelve2

Our events

Explore upcoming and past events.

The 6th annual Disrupt.Sydney event is presented by the Digital Disruption Research Group and Sydney Business Insights.

21 September 2018

CBD Campus, Level 17, 133 Castlereagh St, Sydney

Many employees feel they don’t have the agency to effect meaningful change, thus enacting whatever the "system" (the machine) requires. As a result, disruption poses an existential threat to many organisations because they have become unable to respond. But why is this? What can we do about it? And who will lead the way?

View speakers, workshops and videos.

Our publications

Explore our recent work.

Seymour M, Riemer K, and Kay J, 2018, Actors, Avatars and Agents: Potentials and Implications of Natural Face Technology for the Creation of Realistic Visual PresenceJournal of the Association for Information Systems, 19 (10), 953-981

Mantymaki M, and Riemer K, 2016, Enterprise social networking: A knowledge management perspectiveInternational Journal of Information Management, 36 (6), 1042-1052

Riemer K, Stieglitz S, and Meske C, 2015, From Top to Bottom: Investigating the Changing Role of Hierarchy in Enterprise Social NetworksBusiness & Information Systems Engineering, 57 (3), 197-212

Riemer K, Lee L, Kjaer C, and Haeffner A, 2018, What's in a Group? Identification of group types for Enterprise Social Network Analytics using SWOOP data

Mahlberg T, and Riemer K, 2017, Coworking Spaces Australia: The new places where people work, businesses grow, and corporates connect

Riemer K, Hafermalz E, Roosen A, Boussand N, El Aoufi H, Mo D, and Kosheliev A, 2017, The Fintech Advantage: Harnessing digital technology, keeping the customer in focus

Riemer K, Gal U, Hamann J, Gilchriest B, and Teixeira M, 2015, Digital Disruptive Intermediaries: Finding new digital opportunities by disrupting existing business modelsUniversity of SydneySydney, 3-26