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G. Michael McGrath is a Professor of Information Systems at Victoria University. He has over 20 years experience in the IT industry - mostly at Australia's largest PTC, Telstra, where he worked in a variety of technical and management positions. These included Senior Project Manager, responsible for the development of Telstra's multi-million dollar supply systems applications, and an executive-level position, as Manager Information Architecture within the organization's Corporate Strategy Directorate. He gained his PhD from Macquarie University in 1993 and has held a number of academic posts since that time. Current research interests include strategic information systems in tourism, business data and process modelling, decision support systems, software requirements elicitation, simulations of organizational decision making processes, and Semantic Web services delivery applications.
The term ‘green growth’ refers to the realization of material wealth without major, consequent environmental and social problems. Many tourism destinations are currently pursuing green growth strategies but development of appropriate policies is complex and, consequently, decision support technologies can be used to advantage here. The design of one such decision support system is described in this paper. The research approach is based on the notion that the development (and use) of an information system can be considered a legitimate research activity in its own right and, in particular, a parallel is drawn with case study research: specifically, that systems may evolve through a series of prototypes with results of each stage informing requirements for the next and subsequent iterations. Innovative features of the system are that its design is underpinned both by a need to effectively manage the inherent complexity of the analysis domain and to allow iterative development with minimum impact on previous versions (i.e. to minimize ongoing maintenance costs). An additional important feature is that, while various subsystems may be developed using whatever software platform is deemed most appropriate, an abstracted conceptual schema facilitates effective integration of all components. To date, this research has been largely conceptual in nature and this is the major (current) limitation of the study. However, use of the system within one specific field setting is described in some detail. Early indications are encouraging (with respect to realization of our major design objectives).
Keywords: decision support; green growth; tourism; managing complexity