i2Insights ambassadors and fifth annual review

By Gabriele Bammer

Author - Gabriele Bammer
Gabriele Bammer (biography)

In November the blog had its fifth birthday. It was an occasion to reflect on how far we have come and where we want to head. Here we describe our new i2Insights Ambassadors program to acknowledge those who champion the blog and to highlight ways supporters can help the blog achieve its aims.

We also share the highlights of 2020 and major improvements made to the blog this year. Finally we showcase 13 blog posts published in 2020 that achieved more than 750 views.

If you are looking for short, thought-provoking reading, there are now well over 300 blog posts to choose from. Rummage through the blog scroll or the list of highlighted posts (this list was removed on 5/8/21). Or search the index or use the advanced search to find topics that may interest you.

We are taking a break from publishing blog posts for the next two weeks – the next blog post will be published on January 5, 2021 (Australian time).

i2Insights Ambassadors

i2Insights Ambassadors help the blog expand its reach so that the exchange, discussion, network building and knowledge bank become truly global and comprehensive efforts.

The blog particularly needs help to achieve:

  • a global community
  • comprehensive coverage of topics that are key to research integration and implementation.

A global community: Important research tackling complex societal and environmental problems is happening in almost all countries. New tools are often developed and existing ones adapted to be effective in local circumstances. We can all benefit from learning about these innovations and adaptations. We need i2Insights Ambassadors to:

  • recruit authors, commentators and viewers from countries that are not represented or are under-represented.
  • foster interaction within the blog community, especially discussion of blog posts using the commenting function, and also in imaginative new ways.

Comprehensive coverage of topics that are key to research integration and implementation: Coverage of key topics in the blog is uneven. In particular, we need i2Insights Ambassadors to solicit contributions about ideas and techniques for understanding and managing:

  • Change
  • Context
  • Decision support
  • Diversity
  • Systems
  • Unknowns.

Find out more about the i2Insights Ambassadors program and meet our inaugural ambassadors. If you already champion the blog in ways that we do not know about, do let us know so that we can acknowledge your efforts. And if you would like to support the blog as an i2Insights Ambassador, do contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Highlights of 2020

The blog has published 322 posts by 401 authors from 38 countries. It is read in 183 of the 193 countries that are members of the United Nations.

Significant milestones in 2020 were:

Blog improvements in 2020

In 2020 we also made some significant improvements to the blog. Peter Deane transitioned the blog to a new WordPress theme, which provides a greatly improved home page, allowing us to feature new posts longer, as well as to highlight ‘golden oldies’. He also instituted an advanced search function.

We are also reindexing all blog posts and providing definitions of terms used. Key has been identifying 14 major topics that, together, encompass research integration and implementation. These topics are identified in bold (with links) in the narrative about tackling complex problems that follows.

Research dealing with any complex societal or environmental problem has two overlapping dimensions:

  1. developing a more comprehensive understanding of the problem
  2. supporting improved policy and practice responses to the problem.

Such research involves integration of multiple and varied perspectives about the problem and insights into acting on it, all the while not losing sight of unknowns and outliers that do not fit neatly into a synthesized package, especially as these can be the sources of adverse unintended consequences and nasty surprises. It also involves research implementation, especially decision support, to underpin policy and practice change.

Research integration and implementation require a systems perspective, incorporating context and seeking out diversity in participants, ideas, mental models, epistemologies, values and more. It requires participation not only of other academics, but also a range of stakeholders, both those affected by the problem and those in a position to do something about it. Communication of the research problem, the research process and the findings underpin effective research and action.

Research integration and implementation requires evaluation to improve effectiveness, education to develop expertise in research integration and implementation, and institutionalisation to ensure that the expertise is recognised, widely adopted and rewarded.

An immediate benefit of this reclassification is that it has identified unevenness in the coverage of these topics in the blog. Redressing the balance is now a priority and we are looking for i2Insights Ambassadors (see above) to take a lead in this.

For more information see https://i2insights.org/index/list-of-terms-with-definitions/ and https://i2insights.org/index/additional-information-about-the-index/

Most viewed 2020 blog posts

Fifteen blog posts published in 2020 were viewed more than 750 times:

Effectively including online participants in onsite meetings by Participants in the SESYNC theme “Building Resources for Complex, Action-Oriented Team Science”
https://i2insights.org/2020/03/24/effective-online-plus-onsite-meetings/ (more than 2800 views, 10th most viewed of all time)

Stakeholder engagement in research: The research-modified IAP2 spectrum by Gabriele Bammer
https://i2insights.org/2020/01/07/research-modified-iap2-spectrum/ (more than 2500 views, 13th most viewed of all time)

Choosing a suitable transdisciplinary research framework by Gabriele Bammer
https://i2insights.org/2020/05/26/transdisciplinary-frameworks/ (more than 1600 views)

Outbreaks, break-outs and break-times: Creating caring online workshops by The Care Operative
https://i2insights.org/2020/06/16/caring-online-workshops/ (more than 1250 views)

Decentering academia through critical unlearning in transdisciplinary knowledge production / Descentralizando la academia a través del des- aprendizaje crítico en la producción de conocimiento transdiciplinario by Gabriela Alonso-Yanez, Lily House-Peters and Martin Garcia Cartagena
https://i2insights.org/2020/02/04/decentering-and-unlearning/ (just under 1000 views)

Fifteen characteristics of complex social systems by Hamilton Carvalho
https://i2insights.org/2020/03/17/fifteen-aspects-of-complex-systems/ (more than 950 views)

A framework to evaluate the impacts of research on policy and practice by Laura Meagher and David Edwards
https://i2insights.org/2020/03/03/research-impact-evaluation-framework/ (more than 950 views)

A heuristic framework for reflecting on joint problem framing by BinBin Pearce and Olivier Ejderyan
https://i2insights.org/2020/06/23/framework-for-problem-framing/ (more than 900 views)

Effectively leading interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research organisations by Global Leaders of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research Organisations
https://i2insights.org/2020/11/03/leading-research-organisations/ (more than 900 views)

Implementation during a time of crisis: The critical role of trusting relationships by Allison Metz
https://i2insights.org/2020/05/12/trusting-relationships-for-change/ (more than 850 views)

Facilitating serendipity for interdisciplinary research by Catherine Lyall
https://i2insights.org/2020/01/21/serendipity-for-interdisciplinarity/ (more than 800 views)

How can expertise in research integration and implementation help tackle complex problems? by Gabriele Bammer
https://i2insights.org/2020/03/10/expertise-in-research-integration-and-implementation/ (more than 800 views)

Breaking through disciplinary barriers with practical mapping by Steven Wallis and Bernadette Wright
https://i2insights.org/2020/06/09/practical-mapping/ (more than 750 views)

Ten insights on the interplay between evidence and policy by Kat Smith and Paul Cairney
https://i2insights.org/2020/08/11/evidence-policy-interplay/ (more than 750 views)

The “ABC’s” of interdisciplinarity by Stephen Fiore
https://i2insights.org/2020/11/10/interdisciplinary-collaboration-issues/ (more than 750 views)

The main topics covered (blog posts could cover more than one main topic) were:

  • participation (6)
  • change (4)
  • stakeholders (4)
  • research implementation (4)
  • systems (4)
  • diversity (3)
  • integration (3)
  • context (2)
  • institutionalisation (2)
  • unknowns (2)
  • decision support (1)
  • evaluation (1).

We’re taking a break until January 5, 2021 (Australian time). Great contributions to the blog are already in hand for 2021, including the first from Egypt.

We welcome your comments and questions, as well as your suggestions for improving the blog. We also welcome your active participation in expanding the accessibility and impact of the blog and invite you to become an i2Insights Ambassador.

Biography: Gabriele Bammer PhD is a professor at The Australian National University in the Research School of Population Health’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. She is developing the new discipline of Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) to improve research strengths for tackling complex real-world problems through synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge, understanding and managing diverse unknowns, and providing integrated research support for policy and practice change.

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