Dissertation Writers: Balancing complexity and capacity


Dissertation Writers: Balancing complexity and capacity

With Essays #1 and #2 you demonstrated your ability to identify a sustainability problem and to analyze the key components of a sustainability problem. In Poster #1 you will create a sustainable solution visionthat envisions a future state where the problem you identified and analyzed in your previous essays is actually solved. For this, you will use the visioning tool you learned in this course. Be aware that Poster #1 does NOT address the strategy to achieve the vision – this will be the topic of Essay #3! This poster will allow you to develop additional skills for solving sustainability problems and to gain hands-on experience by applying the knowledge acquired in class.

Content and Structure

Your poster must include the following seven parts, each with their own section! Describe and justify a sustainable solution vision to the analyzed problem by including the following seven sections:

1. Describe a future state where the problem has been solved, i.e., a vision. In your description, start from the mitigated negative effects and the beneficial effects, and then work backwards to the root causes. Make sure you capture all critical components of the situation (use the analytical framework from Essay #2)! Make sure your vision is tangible (real locations, people, etc.)! Begin your vision narrative with: “In 2040 …” The vision should include a narrative of what the future looks like. What is life like for people on a day-to-day basis? The vision should NOT include the strategies used to achieve this vision.

2. Justify that the vision is sustainable by applying the five sustainability principles used during the identification phase (it ought to be a sustainable solution vision, not just any vision). That means, you need to briefly explain how the solution vision ensures:

a. Viability and Integrity of Ecosystems

b. Human and Social Wellbeing

c. Equitable Opportunity for Livelihood and Economic Activities

d. Justice across Societies (Inter-regional Justice)

e. Justice from one Generation to the Next (Inter-generational Justice)

If you realize, based on your sustainability appraisal, that your vision is not sustainable (does not comply with these principles), you need to revise it!

3. Making sure the vision is coherent. A sustainability solution vision should be composed of compatible goals and be free of inconsistencies and conflicts among the values and preferences included. Incompatible or conflicting goals would provide an ambiguous direction and might lead to conflicting or, at least, non-synergistic developments in the real world. Incoherence and conflicts undermine the overall aspirations of the vision and might misguide strategy building and implementation at later stages of the problem-solving process.

4. Ensuring the vision is tangible. Sustainability solution visions need to be made tangible to become meaningful and relevant. If they remain abstract, visions do not convey what they entail and imply. If a vision is made tangible, it allows all stakeholders, irrespective of literacy, competence, and expertise, to comprehend the vision in its richness and detail. A tangible vision also provides clear guidance for designing, monitoring, and evaluating strategies and implementation processes at later stages of the problem-solving efforts.

5. Making the vision plausible. Plausible visions are somewhat grounded in reality, without overly constraining their aspirations. Plausibility is a measure that helps balance feasibility and ambition. A plausible sustainability vision utilizes the productive tension between what is feasible and what is sustainable. Plausible visions are grounded in reality, which means that they entail one or more of the following three types of elements: a) Elements that have been realized in the past under similar circumstances (maybe even at the same location), but do not any longer exist; b) Elements that have been realized elsewhere in the world and still exist; c) Elements that have been demonstrated realizable (concept proof), often through a pilot project or an extended peer-review process.

6. Ensuring the vision is motivational. Unlike general future scenarios, which are primarily designed to inform people about uncertainty, visions are supposed to inspire and motivate people to contribute towards the envisioned change. Motivational visions create buy-in and acceptance of the proposed changes, spark interest in collectively developing the vision further, and incentivize active participation in the strategy-building and implementation process.

7. Balancing complexity and capacity. The complexity of societal systems including actions, technologies, and infrastructures might be too complex for us to handle, leading to the sustainability challenges we experience. Sustainability solution visions ought to align complexity and capacity. Starting from the problematic situation, sustainability solution visions could envision systems that are (much) simpler than the problematic ones currently in place. This pertains to urban systems, technologies, companies, and many other complex societal systems.