Let’s Make the Connections!

The Role of Making Connections in Creating Sustainability Transformations

As researchers, we constantly think about making connections. Connections between different ideas and concepts, between science and practice as well as different disciplines. It is also the connections in systems, which are relevant. The inauguration days of the research project ‘Processes of Sustainability Transformations’ of the Robert Bosch Foundation and Leuphana University created space to establish connections. Connections between humans, between divided areas of research, between different units of practice, between different perceptions of transformations. The list could go on continuously. These two days showed how we as researchers, as organizers, as practitioners etc. connect on a human scale and on system levels. For instance, Per Olsson from the Stockholm Resilience Center introduced the idea of connecting agency and system entrepreneurship when looking at change for sustainability. Maja Göpel, from the German Advisory Council on Global Change, underlined the importance of creating untried beginnings to establish fundamentally new ways of living – reminding us to connect in fundamentally new ways on human and system scales.

The system level: If we want to establish and understand connections on system levels, it means also to ask relevant questions. How can we think about processes of sustainability transformations while considering the boundaries of the systems we address and our scope of analysis? How can be aware of the connections of the different systems, for instance the biophysical realities, on which we base our research?

The human level: Humans are complex and diverse beings, connected and disconnected in so many ways. How can we understand how humans influence sustainability transformations and vice versa? How can we create insightful research for diverse stakeholder groups and thereby create new knowledge that connects?

Let’s make the connection between both. Between different human mindsets and the processes of systems that shape human actions. If we receive deeper insights in the reciprocity of systems and humans, this is a big step in making sustainability transformation processes happen.

Also, check out the posts by my colleagues, giving a summary on how we were Starting the Transformation and one of the main reasons we are working in this field, because It’s All About the People.

Maike Buhr

Maike studied political science as well as cultural and social anthropology at Muenster University and completed her Master’s Degree in Human Ecology at Lund University (Sweden). During her work experience at the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM), she deepened her interest and expertise in corporate transformations to sustainability. In the research group, she is concerned with the question of how actors, especially change agents, can contribute to the sustainability transformation of the textile industry. Specifically, Maike focuses on the transformative potential of change agents for sustainability transformations in the corporate sector on individual and organizational levels. Learn more about Maike's PhD project!

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