I recently wrote a blog post about an article of ours that will be presented at the upcoming ICT4S conference, "Addressing students’ eco-anxiety when teaching sustainability in computing education". That article came out of a "small pedagogical project" that was funded by the KTH School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). There was a new call for "small pedagogical projects" back in February and we (me, Elina Eriksson and Björn Hedin) handed in a new application called "Develop the course Leading Complex Change Processes (7.5 hp)".
This past week we found out that the project will be funded and this means that me and Elina each can "legitimately" spend around 5% of a man-year/person-year (e.g. 2 weeks each) during the following 12 months on developing a new masters-level course. Björn's function is as a sounding board and he funds himself (being a sounding board is part of his new job as an "Associate professor in Learning in Engineering Science with a focus on Integrating Sustainable Development").
This course will be part of the new masters programme we are pitching - but the course could also be given as a stand-alone course if the masters programme is delayed, and the idea is thus that it will be offered to students after next summer (e.g. autumn 2023). The application was written in Swedish but I have translated some of the central parts:
KTH's sustainability goals for education indicate that we should not only teach students to know and understand sustainability problems, but that KTH students should also be able to lead the development towards an equal and climate-neutral society. But how can one “lead the development” if we now face several interconnected “super wicked problems” (Levin et. Al., 2012)? For some types of complex problems, traditional engineering methods have often proved to be as much of a problem as a solution, e.g. Sevareids lag, “The chief source of problems is solutions” (Raghavan 2015). It is thus possible to state that many of today's problems are the result of yesterday's solutions. We therefore need to think in completely new ways about "super wicked" sustainability and climate challenges.
We claim that far too many courses on leadership, project management and change (also at KTH) are based on a mechanistic, linear worldview which mainly presupposes that the complexity that exists in the world (including in terms of sustainability challenges) is manageable and can be captured and tamed by traditional methods (Snowden 2005). As an engineer, it is easy to look for solutions to complex problems by digging deeper, analyzing more and making more calculations. We instead believe that the global sustainability problems we face instead require other methods and completely new ways of thinking (Raghavan & Pargman 2016, Raghavan & Pargman 2017). The course we requesting funds for developing is about exploring and communicating these new ways of thinking, as well as training engineering students to use them practically. The course aims to learn by and together with the engineering students explore and co-create a journey from efficiency ("doing things right") to effectiveness ("doing the right things").
[...] The course is planned to be part of a new masters programme in digital transformation and sustainability. A large part of the course will be based on systems thinking (Meadows 2008) and complexity theory and it will especially be based on the Cynefin framework (Kurtz & Snowden 2003, Snowden 2005) as well as theories about chaordic organizations (Hock 1999/2022). In the course, the focus will be on leading co-creative processes (Quick & Sandfort 2014) with inspiration from MITx U.lab and Theory U (Scharmer 2018). In the spring of 2022, we (Daniel and Elina) participated as co-trainers in a commissioned/contracted course [uppdragsutbildning] at Karlstad University ("The Art of Hosting: Education and training in co-creative process management") which specifically focused on learning and collaboration in higher education.
It's thus not unfair to say that we plan to develop and teach a 7.5 credit (10-week half time) university course about Art of Hosting - although the proposed course title "Leading complex change processes" makes it more socially acceptable and fitting in a KTH context!
We are happy about the funds we got and very much look forward to developing and giving this course next autumn!