By Gabriele Bammer
How is Integration and Implementation Insights (i2Insights) shaping up as a repository of resources useful for tackling complex societal and environmental problems?
i2Insights has two major purposes:
- connecting a community of researchers to each other, and
- building a repository or knowledge bank of resources.
i2Insights has set out to achieve both purposes using the format of blog, with short, easy-to-read contributions from researchers located anywhere in the world, and with encouragement to peers to comment. We have sought to summarise these purposes in the tagline for i2S:
A community blog providing research resources for understanding and acting on complex real-world problems
Types of resources
To date, i2Insights has published 425 blog posts, which can be categorized as follows (number of blog posts in brackets, with any particular blog post able to fall under more than one category):
- theories (15), concepts (99) and frameworks (70)
- methods (45), processes (250) and toolkits (7)
- competencies (30) and primers (20)
- cases (58)
- synthesis blog posts (2) and state-of-the-blog (8).
When it comes to topics covered, the overarching consideration is that research dealing with any complex societal or environmental problem involves:
- developing a more comprehensive understanding of the problem, both what is known and what is not known
- generating ideas about addressing the problem, including what may and may not work
- supporting improved policy and practice responses to the problem by government, business and civil society.
The 14 specific topics that i2Insights therefore deals with can be grouped into 4 clusters (number of blog posts in brackets, with any particular blog post able to fall under more than one category):
Diversity, teamwork, stakeholder engagement and integration
- understanding, harnessing and managing diversity (57)
- teamwork (89)
- stakeholder engagement (103)
- integration of multiple and varied perspectives about any problem and insights into acting on it (56).
Decision-making, research implementation, change and communication
- effective decision making (39)
- research implementation (77)
- understanding the processes involved in change (59)
- improving communication (42).
Systems, context and unknowns
- taking a systems perspective (42)
- understanding context (14)
- understanding and managing unknowns (36).
Evaluation, education and institutionalisation
- evaluation to improve effectiveness in each topic (27)
- education to develop expertise in each topic (31)
- institutionalisation to ensure that the expertise is recognised, widely adopted and rewarded (52).
i2Insights aims to publish both long-established and newly-developed concepts, methods and other resources on these topics.
Communities of practice
i2Insights aims to be a repository for resources from researchers in established communities of practice (such as transdisciplinarity, systems thinking, action research), as well as from researchers who do not necessarily identify with such communities.
The number of contributions linked to specific communities of practice are:
- systems thinking (26 contributions)
- transdisciplinarity (12)
- interdisciplinarity (10)
- science of team science (9)
- knowledge brokering (7)
- action research (2)
- implementation science (2)
- community operational research (1)
- integrated assessment (1)
- post-normal science (1).
i2Insights is a project supporting the formation of Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S), a discipline which aims to provide a way of sharing insights and resources among all those tackling complex societal and environmental problems. This includes those in 22 different communities of practice, some of which are mentioned above – for details see https://i2s.anu.edu.au/what-i2s/faq/where-i2s-fits. Not all communities of practice are yet represented in i2Insights.
Achieving global reach
i2Insights aims to attract a global authorship and readership. To end March 2022, there were 530 authors from 46 countries. The bulk of contributions still come from a small number of countries (USA, Australia, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Canada). We are keen to encourage contributions from other countries.
Since the inception of i2Insights, contributions have been viewed in 188 of the 193 countries that are members of the United Nations. There have been more than 100,000 views from USA, Australia and UK, with more than 10,000 views from Canada, India, South Africa, Philippines, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan.
More statistics can be found at https://i2insights.org/about/blog-statistics/.
Index and advanced search
Key to any repository is an effective index and advanced search. All blog posts are indexed using a consistent set of terms, which includes the categories above for resources and topics covered, along with hundreds of more specific tags, ranging from academic career development, through hedging, negotiation and tacit knowledge, to yin-yang. There are also tags for languages other than English in which blog posts are also published. To date, contributions have been published in Arabic (1 blog post), Chinese (1), French (3), Japanese (1), Portuguese (1) and Spanish (10). We also provide easy access to Google Translate in the menu bar.
Help i2Insights improve
Although our resources are limited, we are always interested in suggestions for improvement and general feedback. In particular, what would make i2Insights a more useful repository of resources for you? If you are not already a contributor, what would encourage you to become one?
We also welcome new i2Insights Ambassadors, who help the blog expand its reach so that the exchange, discussion, network building and repository become truly global and comprehensive efforts. i2Insights Ambassadors help us achieve our aims of having a vibrant community of contributors in every country and having extensive treatment of all relevant topics.
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. i2S provides theory and methods for tackling complex societal and environmental problems, especially for synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge, understanding and managing diverse unknowns, and providing integrated research support for policy and practice change.