Department of informatics
SE-901 87 UMEÅ (Sweden)
AT THE DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATICS, UMEÅ UNIVERSITY
KRISTO IVANOV, born 1937 in Belgrade from Bulgarian parents, was educated in Italy, Brazil, France, and Sweden. He is DrTechn/PhD from Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology KTH, full professor since 1984, and has degrees in electronic engineering, psychology, and computer science/administrative data processing (informatics) with minors in industrial economics, statistics, and political economy. During the sixties and the seventies he worked as an engineer in France, Sweden and the USA, and in managerial positions in the computer industry.
His dissertation in 1972 at the Royal Institute of Technology & Stockholm university concerning Quality-Control of Information was an early application of the Design of Inquiring Systems (book-index on knowledge management, also in PDF-format) launched by C. West Churchman at the University of California-Berkeley [details at (1), (2) and (3)]. It had broad implications for design of databases, ERP-MIS (Enterprise Resource Planning and Management Information Systems), and regulatory systems for auditing including the setting of audit standards. Subsequently he taught and pursued research at the department of Statistics of Stockholm University and at the departments of Mathematics and of Computer and Information Science of Linköping university. In the latter position he was also responsible for the program of social informatics and system analysis.
Since 1984 he was full professor at the Department of Informatics of Umeå University, and was head and chairman of the board of the department between 1986 and 1998. This took place within a historically crucial longer period of development of the discipline, portrayed in a draft version (in Swedish) of the local history of informatics. Cooperation with Berkeley's systems approach was consolidated by his nomination of prof. Churchman for a degree honoris causa awarded by the university in 1985 and by hosting him at the department during his sabbatical in 1987. Ivanov has been adjunct faculty, and member of scientific boards both in Sweden and abroad. He has worked as consultant and expert to a number of government institutions, and private industry. Between 1991 and 2004 he was scientific advisor to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). In 1997 he was elected "president elect" of ISSS, the International Society for the Systems Sciences, a position which he later had to relinquish because of other demanding duties. He is professor emeritus since October 2002.
Ivanov's later research interests as represented by more than 100 main publications are focused on the relation between systems science and its applications to business and government. He is especially interested in the interplay among technical, economic, political, psychological, aesthetical and ethical considerations in the design and use of information technology, including philosophical and theological issues that lately have also been labeled as existential or phenomenological issues of culture and spirituality. One main question that dominates the research interest is what directs and should direct the development and application of information technology.
SOME ADDITIONAL DETAILS
For a more "marketable" description of interests, it can be stated that a main research theme is the basis for learning and organization of knowledge and skills at different levels in organizations, at the individual, group and organizational levels. A second theme is the basis for development, implementation and utilization of information and communication technologies in organizations with the aim of implementing the legitimately expected benefits for the different stakeholders, including all affected people.
This includes concerns for "methods in action", formerly known as issues of implementation. To trendy bywords like change, flexibility, creativity, innovation, interaction and learning Ivanov likes to contrast questions like "Change caused or imposed by whom or by what?", "Change of what, to what, and what for?", "Is flexibility as adaptation to change always good or can its perceived necessity be caused by lack of knowledge or courage?", "Is interaction, creativity or innovation always good or is there a good and a bad action or creativity?", and "Is learning by itself always good, or how to foster the learning of good things?". To trendy bywords like virtual reality or design are opposed questions like "What is real reality in the first place?" and "Why is the English word design, rooted in the Latin language, seldom seen as translatable into other European languages?". And why some researchers do see these words as balderdash?
Those who are interested in fundamental and philosophical matters of scientific method may appreciate that Ivanov's position evolved out of C. West Churchman's later work originating somehow between Charles Sanders Peirce's and William James' (as contrasted to John Dewey's) American philosophical pragmatism, and European continental philosophy including phenomenology at its sources, prior to its later secularization. This implies attempts to build partly upon Kantian and less known post-Kantian insights and their criticism or "meta-critique" by original historical personalities.
Examples of such personalities are, chronologically, Franz von Baader (see also an alternative encyclopedic source on Baader), Johann Georg Hamann, Max Scheler, Antonio Rosmini (see also an alternative source on Rosmini), Bernard Lonergan, and, in humanistic psychological studies, Carl Gustav Jung. A Swedish source of inspiration has been a controversial or, rather, "politically incorrect" political scientist and historian, Tage Lindbom, whose import is considered in some dept in the essay of year 1993 on Belief and Reason. The practical interest of such positionings is the striving for an integration between cognitive and emotional aspects (Kantian realms of reason, understanding, and judgment), or, rather, between so called rational and ethical-theological aspects of design and use of information technology as recently exemplified in the cultural dialogue between the social philosopher Jürgen Habermas and the theologian, later pope, Joseph Ratzinger in The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion (2007).This should also qualify the approach to presently fashionable issues of design, multimedia including experiential bodily interaction, multi-culturalism and gender beyond feminism, as expressed, for instance, in Baader's treatment of the role of imagination, catholicism, and erotic philosophy. Design must be seen also as a theological question as suggested in the concluding pages of a dissertation by Gunnela Ivanov. Ultimately it is a question of exploring the implications of the academic core of the Encyclical Letters on The Splendor of Truth, and Faith and Reason, as considered in Ivanov's Dialectical Systems Design and Beyond.
And, finally, more humoristically: you may want to know why this home page is not designed in a fancier way, or why it does not display a greater number of activities equated to achievements, or "projects" characterized by an apparently unending succession of deadly deadlines in what has been called a "death culture". If you do not care about or do not agree with the view of time-effectiveness in the Bible (Ecclesiasticus/Ben Sira 38:24), in Plato (Theaetetus 172d), or in Aristotle (Politics 1272 a32-b7, 1337 b23-1338 b8), you are invited to look for inspiration in more popular books like Tyranny of the moment: Fast and slow time in the information age [Swedish translation from the Norwegian original: Ögonblickets tyranni] or, for Swedish readers, Långsamhetens lov [In praise of slowness]! You will find more on this matter of time in the link to "Research". Long after I wrote this text (above) Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber published their book The slow professor: Challenging the culture of speed in the academy (2016) as appreciated by Werner Ulrich in his reflections Toward a "Knowledge democracy"(March-May 2018).