Digital platforms and online communities have attracted growing popularity within (and beyond) the IS field. Relevant literature argues that these new configurations have the potential to create different types of value (Barrett, Oborn, & Orlikowski, 2016; Goh, Gao, & Agarwal, 2016).
To further explore how technology contributes to value creation within these contexts, Dr Petros Chamakiotis (Sussex), Co-Chair of the IFIP Working Group 9.5 on Virtuality & Society, together with Prof Niki Panteli (Royal Holloway) and Dr Dimitra Petrakaki (Sussex) conducted a two-year study with MedicineAfrica; a digital health platform that connects UK-based medical professionals with healthcare workers and students from countries with weak or little access to healthcare education (e.g. Somaliland, Palestine).
Their study involved online observations, interviews and questionnaires with 17 MedicineAfrica members with differing roles and from different geographical locations.
The findings of the study make two contributions which have theoretical and practical significance.
First, they reveal the trajectories of the volunteers’ commitment to MedicineAfrica over time, from initial motives for joining to their growing commitment, responsibility and role within the MedicineAfrica community.
Second, they unpack different types of social value that MedicineAfrica helps to generate, and explore how these influence the community at large, a well as the individual stakeholders involved in the platform. These findings are depicted visually in a creative brochure which can be viewed here.