Why Place Still Matters in Digital Innovation: Organizing 3D Printing in a UK Hospital

S. Polykarpou, Michael Barrett

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper examines the importance of place in organizing digital innovation that bridges the physical and digital domains. We explore this through an illustrative case of digital innovation, 3D printing, at a clinical innovation department of a major UK National Health Service (NHS) hospital. Using ethnographic, archival and interview data spanning a three-year period, and by employing a practice-based perspective and the concept of place, we find that the actors organizing 3DP enacted place making practices that raised identity tensions, thwarting 3DP collaborative work. While one might expect place to lose its significance when digitizing innovation, our findings highlight the importance of place for practices which constitute collaborative work as a key organizing practice for 3DP. We contribute by demonstrating that places still play an important role in the digitization of innovation and provide an understanding of how the materiality of place is implicated in the development of digital innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2017
Event38th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) 2017: Transforming Society with Digital Innovation - Seoul, Seoul, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Duration: 10 Dec 201713 Dec 2017


Conference38th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) 2017
Abbreviated titleICIS
Country/TerritoryKorea, Democratic People's Republic of
Internet address


  • Digital innovation
  • 3D printing
  • Materiality
  • Healthcare
  • Identity
  • Organizing
  • Place
  • Practice lens

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