By Katrin Prager
Where do the benefits of diverse teams come from and how can those benefits be unlocked? What are the pitfalls to watch out for in constructing a team that is greater than the sum of its parts?
To boost innovation and creativity in teams I suggest we need to develop diversity science, which has 5 elements:
- identifying the right kind of diversity
- avoiding homophily
- avoiding dominance hierarchies
- fostering appropriate leadership
- building and protecting trust.
Let’s unpack each of these elements.
By Niko Schäpke and Ioan Fazey
How should formalized knowledge systems, including universities, research institutes and education, transform to keep pace with wider and inevitable societal transformations associated with accelerating global change? What kinds of changes are needed in these knowledge systems and how can they be encouraged?
These questions were explored by participants of the Transformations 2017 conference and in subsequent research (Fazey et al., 2020). This included highlighting current challenges, envisioning future systems and the policy and actions required for the transition. These are summarized in the figure below.
Challenges of current knowledge systems
Current systems are limited by frequently being disconnected from action, being elitist, fragmented and compartmentalized.
By Ismael Rafols
How can knowledge integration for addressing societal challenges be mapped, ‘measured’ and assessed?
In this blog post I argue that measuring averages or aggregates of ‘interdisciplinarity’ is not sufficiently focused for evaluating research aimed at societal contributions. Instead, one should take a portfolio approach to analyze knowledge integration as a systemic process over research landscapes; in particular, focusing on the directions, diversity and synergies of research trajectories.
There are two main reasons:
1. since knowledge integration for societal challenges is a systemic and dynamic process, we need broad and plural perspectives and therefore we should use a battery of analytical tools, as developed for example in research portfolio analysis, rather than a narrow focus on interdisciplinarity.
By James E. Burke
What is foresight and how does it differ from prediction? What role can complexity play in foresight? Does Cynefin® offer a possible framework to begin integrating foresight and complexity?
In this blog post, I describe how:
- Foresight identifies clues for the future and integrates them into forecasts
- Complexity theory offers ways to understand how the future emerges
- Cynefin® gives us a framework of domains that allows us to better understand trends and forecasts.
What is foresight?
Foresight starts from a place of humility—we cannot predict the future—and an acceptance of ambiguity.
By Tobias Buser and Flurina Schneider
When addressing societal challenges, how can researchers orient their thinking to produce not only knowledge on problems, but also knowledge that helps to overcome those problems?
The concept of ‘three types of knowledge’ is helpful for structuring project goals, formulating research questions and developing action plans. The concept first appeared in the 1990s and has developed into a core underpinning of transdisciplinary research.
The three types of knowledge, illustrated in the first figure below, are:
1. Systems knowledge, which is usually defined as knowledge about the current system or problem situation. It is mainly analytical and descriptive. For example, if you think of water scarcity, systems knowledge refers to producing a holistic understanding of the relevant socio-ecological system, including aspects like water availability, water uses, water management, justice questions, and their interrelations.
Highlighted posts on stakeholders
By Michelle Banfield
How can stakeholder engagement in research be effectively planned? What parameters need to be taken into account? How can flexibility be built in to accommodate different levels of researcher and stakeholder experience?
The framework presented here was developed for health services research, but is more broadly applicable. The framework has three separate dimensions.
- The stakeholders to involve
- The stages of the research at which they will be involved
- The level of involvement for each stakeholder group at each stage.
By Obasanjo Oyedele, Martin Atela and Ayo Ojebode
A fundamental principle for conducting research that is easily put to use by stakeholders is to involve them in the research process as early as possible. But how can the inertia and lack of interest that stakeholders often have at this stage be overcome?
We provide two lessons from our experience of involving stakeholders as early as the research launch.
By Klaus Hubacek and Christina Prell
Being responsive to stakeholder interests and suggestions is important for successful participatory modeling. We share lessons from an exciting, five year project in the UK entitled the ‘Sustainable Uplands’. The project sought to bring together a variety of groups ranging from academics, policy makers, residents, conservationists, and different ‘end user’ groups that all, in some way, held a stake in upland park areas in the UK.
Our process was iterative, tacking back and forth between field work, consultations among the research team, consultations with non-academic stakeholders, and modeling. Not only were our models heavily influenced by what stakeholders told us were important values and considerations regarding upland areas, but these also informed how we went about gathering the data.
By Allison Metz and Annette Boaz
Should implementation science make more room for consultation, collaboration and co-creation with stakeholders? Would finding more active roles for stakeholders in implementation science be a promising approach to increasing the use of research evidence for improvements in policy and services?
The goal of implementation science is to promote the sustainable implementation of research evidence at scale to improve population outcomes, especially in health and human services. Nevertheless, the mobilization of research evidence on the frontlines of health and human services has been quite limited, especially in public agencies serving the vast majority of consumers.