By Gabriele Bammer
As the blog enters its 7th year, it is time for the annual review of how well it is meeting its aims of:
- sharing concepts, methods and other tools for tackling complex societal and environmental problems and acting as a repository of those tools
- being a global vehicle for exchange, discussion and network building to strengthen use of those tools.
All the trends are in the right direction, providing impetus to keep expanding the base of contributors and coverage of key topics. If you have developed a relevant tool or use an existing tool in a new way, I would love to hear from you. Comments on blog posts are always valuable. And, of course, feedback and suggestions are welcome.
This is the last blog post for 2021. The first blog post for 2022 will be published on January 11 (Australian time). Great contributions are already in hand. In the meantime, the blog posts published over the last six years provide useful insights and lessons. To get you started, a list of this year’s posts that have achieved more than 900 views is provided below.
Highlights of 2021
Overall, the blog has published 390 posts by 506 authors from 46 countries. The blog has been read in 188 of the 193 countries that are members of the United Nations. More statistics are available at: https://i2insights.org/blog-statistics/. Significant milestones in 2021 were:
- first contributors from Belgium, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Rwanda and Turkey
- surpassing 500 authors
- reaching 20,000 views in a month; indeed there were 9 months where views exceeded 20,000, with the maximum monthly views being 26,520
- reaching 15,000 visitors in a month, with 6 months where visitors exceed 15,000, the maximum being 17,368
- achieving a median of more than 700 lifetime views per blog post
- continuing to steadily increase the mean views of blog posts in the first 3 month after publication; from 313 in 2016, 440 in 2017, 475 in 2018, 565 in 2019, 612 in 2020, 645 to end July 2021
- 57 blog posts receiving more than 1,500 views over their lifetime, with three blog posts published in 2021 achieving that status
- achieving more than 195,000 all-time views for A guide to ontology, epistemology and philosophical perspectives for interdisciplinary researchers by Katie Moon and Deborah Blackman
- being invited to contribute the blog’s list of terms with definitions to the BioPortal biomedical ontology repository.
i2Insights Ambassadors program
This was the first year of operation of the i2Insights Ambassadors program. The Ambassadors help the blog expand its reach so that the exchange, discussion, network building and knowledge bank become a truly global and comprehensive effort, with a vibrant community of contributors in every country and high-quality coverage of all of the blog’s main topics.
Key Ambassador activities in 2021 were:
- recruiting new blog posts from Nigeria (Ulli Vilsmaier) and the International Transdisciplinarity conference, with authors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Rwanda, as well as Canada, Germany and Switzerland (Bianca Vienni Baptista, assisted by BinBin Pearce)
- using blog posts as teaching resources in Latin America (Bianca Vienni Baptista)
- alerting people to the blog through talks, lectures and workshops (Manal Adel Said Affara, Rania Nabih El-Shaheny, Bianca Vienni Baptista, Ulli Vilsmaier)
- encouraging specific contributions to the blog (Julie Thompson Klein, Ulli Vilsmaier)
- writing about the blog in academic work (Julie Thompson Klein).
If you promote the blog in these ways or others, we would love to acknowledge your efforts by inviting you to join the i2Insights Ambassadors program.
As well as the i2Insights Ambassadors program, another innovation this year has been the stakeholder engagement primer. This series of 10 blog posts aims to provide an easy way for beginners to get an overview of what stakeholder engagement involves. It is also a foundation for the 44 (currently) other blog posts on stakeholder engagement which cover a rich array of topics. Thanks to everyone who commented, which has enhanced the material presented.
Earlier innovations continue to be strengthened: advancing the re-indexing of blog posts published before 2020, improving the advanced search function and keeping the blog accessible and user-friendly.
Most viewed blog posts of 2021
Eleven blog posts published in 2021 were viewed more than 900 times:
How systems thinking enhances systems leadership by Catherine Hobbs and Gerald Midgley
https://i2insights.org/2021/04/13/systems-thinking-and-leadership/ (more than 2,700 views)
Three types of knowledge by Tobias Buser and Flurina Schneider
https://i2insights.org/2021/02/11/three-types-of-knowledge/ (more than 2,100 views)
Do we need diversity science? by Katrin Prager
https://i2insights.org/2021/02/25/diversity-science/ (more than 1,500 views)
Gradients of agreement for democratic decision making by Hannah Love
https://i2insights.org/2021/05/25/gradients-of-agreement-tool/ (just under 1,500 views)
Theory of change in a nutshell by Heléne Clark
https://i2insights.org/2021/08/24/theory-of-change-in-brief/ (more than 1,300 views)
Three complexity principles for convergence research by Gemma Jiang
https://i2insights.org/2021/02/04/complexity-for-convergence-research/ (more than 1,200 views)
‘Measuring’ interdisciplinarity: from indicators to indicating by Ismael Rafols
https://i2insights.org/2021/02/09/measuring-interdisciplinarity/ (more than 1,100 views)
Six ways facilitation skills can improve cross-disciplinary team leadership /
ست وسائل من مهارات التيسير لتطوير قيادة الفريق البحثي عابر التخصصات by Manal Affara
https://i2insights.org/2021/04/20/facilitation-for-cross-disciplinary-teams/ (more than 980 views; also the first blog post published in Arabic as well as English)
Why we need strengths-based approaches to achieve social justice by Katie Thurber
https://i2insights.org/2021/01/12/strengths-based-approaches/ (more than 970 views)
A quick guide to post-normal science by Silvio Funtowicz
https://i2insights.org/2021/10/19/guide-to-post-normal-science/ (more than 960 views)
Seven tips for developing large-scale cross-disciplinary research proposals by Gemma Jiang, Jin Wen and Simi Hoque
https://i2insights.org/2021/06/15/large-cross-disciplinary-grants/ (more than 930 views).
Final words for 2021
Thanks to everyone who has helped make the blog a success, especially the authors and commenters. You don’t have to be invited to contribute a blog post or comment, so if you have something to say do consider i2Insights blog as an outlet. For blog posts, please get in touch and I am happy to work with you to develop something suitable. For comments, feel free to post straight into the comments section of the relevant blog post.
And if you are looking for something thought-provoking to read, the blog provides gems for all facets of dealing with complex problems.
What were the i2Insights blog highlights for you in 2021?
Acknowledgement: Peter Deane is an invaluable colleague in implementing the vision for the blog. He carefully manages all the technical aspects, provides a wise sounding board and generally infuses the production of the blog with good sense, informed by his own interests both in transdisciplinarity and in providing the best possible experience for blog readers.
Biography: Gabriele Bammer PhD is Professor of Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at The Australian National University in Canberra. She is also a member of blog partner PopulationHealthXchange. 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.