Overcoming complexity – Research through Design und Backcasting als komplementäre Ansätze zur Antizipation von nachhaltigeren Zukünften

Translated title of the contribution: Overcoming complexity – Research through design and backcasting as complementary approaches to anticipating more sustainable futures

Maike Gebker, Madita Olvermann, Maren Ohlhoff, Lennart Buck, Bernd Engel, Ludger Frerichs, Gerhard Glatzel, Felix Klabunde, Larissa Reis, Anne Kathrin Schneider, Boris Schröder, Samuel Zonon, Simone Kauffeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper in the journal “Gruppe. Interaction. Organization. (GIO)” presents the interdisciplinary development of future scenarios and transformation paths using visualization methods—research through design backcasting. Sustainability transformations as complex system transformations are difficult for companies and organizations to grasp. The systemic complexity makes the transformation towards a more sustainable future more difficult. Futures research is one way of understanding changes in the system and deriving transformation paths. Various guidelines exist in the field of futures research, which is rich in methods, particularly in the backcasting process used. For interdisciplinary research contexts, the methodological use of (future) models to represent and make futures and transformation paths tangible is still little explicated. In order to address this shortcoming, this article serves to introduce the backcasting process in combination with the research through design approach; to create transformation pathways towards more sustainable futures, and to present a concrete case study to illustrate this. The systematic research process on the topic of “Electrification of agriculture in 2045” is shown step by step—from the start of the project to the development of a reference work, including target images and transformation paths—with the methods being used (including graphic recording and workshops) and by graphical illustrations. The combination of visualization and object-supported backcasting proved to be a promising methodology for strengthening system understanding, facilitating discourse on more sustainable futures and generating communicable output on a complex future model in the form of transformation pathways. On this basis, complexity can be reduced and measures for achieving more sustainable futures can be extracted and evaluated. However, RtD backcasting requires a constant reassessment of the transformation and a constant comparison of the emerging visions of the future within the research team. This requires close cooperation and thus a time and materially resource-intensive effort, but one that is worthwhile, as we show in this paper.

Translated title of the contributionOvercoming complexity – Research through design and backcasting as complementary approaches to anticipating more sustainable futures
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalGruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Organisationspsychologie
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

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