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How Conversational Agents Relieve Teams from Innovation Blockages

2022-08-09 , Elshan, Edona , Zierau, Naim , Janson, Andreas , Leimeister, Jan Marco

Innovation is one of the most important antecedents of a company's competitive advantage and long-term survival. Prior research has alluded to teamwork being a primary driver of a firm's innovation capacity. Still, many firms struggle with providing an environment that supports innovation teams in working efficiently together. Thereby, a team's failure can be attributed to several factors, such as inefficient working methods or a lack of internal communication that leads to so-called innovation blockages. There are a number of approaches that are targeted at supporting teams to overcome innovation blockages, but they mainly focus on the collaboration process and rarely consider the needs and potentials of individual team members. In this paper, we argue that Conversational Agents (CAs) can efficiently support teams in overcoming innovation blockages by enhancing collaborative work practices and, specifically, by facilitating the contribution of each individual team member. To that end, we design a CA as a team facilitator that provides nudges to reduce innovation blocking actions according to requirements we systematically derived from scientific literature and practice. Based on a rigorous evaluation, we demonstrate the potential of CAs to reduce the frequency of innovation blockages. The research implications for the development and deployment of CAs as team facilitators are explored.

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Publication

A Review of the Empirical Literature on Conversational Agents and Future Research Directions

2020 , Zierau, Naim , Elshan, Edona , Visini, Camillo , Janson, Andreas

The knowledge base related to user interaction with conversational agents (CAs) has grown dramatically but remains segregated. In this paper, we conduct a systematic literature review to investigate user interaction with CAs. We examined 107 papers published in outlets related to IS and HCI research. Then, we coded for design elements and user interaction outcomes, and isolated 7 significant determinants of these outcomes, as well as 42 themes with inconsistent evidence, providing grounds for future research. Building upon the insights from the analysis, we propose a research agenda to guide future research surrounding user interaction with CAs. Ultimately, we aim to contribute to the body of knowledge of IS and HCI in general and user interaction with CA in particular by indicating how developed a research field is regarding the number and content of the respective contributions. Furthermore, practitioners benefit from a structured overview related to CA design effects.