Oulu Advanced Research on Service and Information Systems

The OASIS Research unit's study area is information systems and service innovation. We focus on how information systems and software best serve individuals and organizations in performing personal, knowledge work, and other important activities. Our research examines user engagement, persuasive design, behavior change, socio-technical innovation, and the next generation of web, mobile, and ubiquitous technologies. Research is typically carried out by constructing new concepts and technologies and experimenting with them.
Colleagues having a meeting


The OASIS research unit studies how software and information systems can best serve people to perform professional, personal, and other activities. We believe that motivating, encouraging and persuasive information systems will be drivers for future changes in global business and information technology. We seek to produce new knowledge and insight on the three roles information technology plays in modern society: as transformer, innovation accelerator and humanizer (Oinas-Kukkonen and Oinas-Kukkonen, 2013).

Transformer, innovation accelerator and humanizer

Modern information systems and technology have powers to transform organizations, businesses, industries, and economies; to transform the very skills that are required from us for both work and in our everyday lives; even to change the way how we think about people.

This transformation is also changing the way how innovations and technologies are being created; new platforms for open innovation, crowdsourcing, and other new means for seeking innovations will become ever more prevalent and ecosystems related to them will need increased scientific and pragmatic attention.

Information systems themselves will turn into humanized information and communication technologies through which radical changes in social phenomena will take place.

In this transition, a deeper understanding of user behaviors is needed. Even more so, persuasive designs will play a pivotal role in the future innovation ecosystems, when people who are not on one’s payroll become increasingly more important for one’s success. Those people need to be motivated, encouraged, and incentivized. With one word, the systems offered for them must be persuasive.

Current research focus

Our research unit focuses on using Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) to create Behavior Change Support Systems (BCSS) in various domains. Domains include healthcare, assistive care, sustainability, well-being, education, mentoring, and other emerging areas. We use the developed systems to produce results that aim to refine persuasive techniques and define their contributions to user experience, technology adoption, and behavior change.

Persuasive Systems Design

Persuasive technology is aiming to influence a person's beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors through technology. The PSD model (Oinas-Kukkonen and Harjumaa, 2009) is used in our unit for designing, evaluating, and researching persuasive systems. The model includes three phases to build a system capable of changing behavior without manipulation or coercion:

Behavior Change Support Systems

BCSSs are information systems that have been designed to support a user’s behavior change goal attainment and are designed to form, alter, or reinforce attitudes, behaviors, or an act of complying without using coercion or deception. A prime example of a BCSS is provided by digital health interventions aimed at health behavior change.

Persuasion is a key element in BCSS. It involves communicating with someone to influence their attitudes or behavior. To achieve this, persuasive technologies used need to be effective, so there is a need to understand the attitude and behavior of people. Our research unit draws theories from many disciplines such as social and cognitive psychology, behavioral sciences, and information systems when designing these technologies.


OASIS organizes teaching at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE). Our unit is focused on Information Processing Science. We provide a variety of Bachelor and Master level courses for degree programs. In addition, we offer advanced and doctoral courses. We are also in a process of developing MOOC courses for a wider audience.