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Illustration by Yeşim Paktin.

Transdisciplinarity as an Intent

Embracing the integrative model to move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries

ATÖLYE
ATÖLYE
Jun 16, 2017 · 6 min read
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Our reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian man’ from 1487.

The suffix of “-disciplinarity” has been used relatively open-endedly both in media and academia.

From our standpoint, the most compelling definition is offered by Paul Stock and Rob J.F. Burton, where they divide heterogenized knowledge transfer into three different levels of integration; basic collaboration (Multidisciplinarity), new knowledge creation (Interdisciplinarity) and fully-integrative synthesis (Transdisciplinary) (Stock and Burton, 2011). Each of these models share a common trait of bringing together individuals from different disciplines in order to propel out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving. However, a transdisciplinary model inherently requires creating a “unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives,” therefore necessitating an effective transfusion of the interdisciplinary input (Jensenius, 2012).

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A demonstration of the integration levels for different types of disciplinarities, inspired by A. Jensenius.

Meanwhile, a holistic education is not necessarily the only salvation for 21st century occupations.

A great example of such an individual is Elon Musk, who is trained in basic principles of physics and combines his growth mindset to become an “expert-generalist” (Fortune, 2016). Based on his relentless curiosity, he applies the same questioning attitude for his startups like SpaceX, PayPal, OpenAI, Neurolink and Tesla Motors, creating links and insight loops among all ventures.

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The current sectoral breakdown of the ATÖLYE community.

This model of interaction enables individuals formulate professional empathy.

Embedded within this network, our interdisciplinary core team is made up of approximately 25 individuals that have a π-shaped competency map, with deep skills in analytical and creative fields.

It is in projects where we aspire to enmesh the powers of the multidisciplinary community with our interdisciplinary team.

Specifically, our research phase consists of getting rid of disciplinary boundaries and doing an immersive research. Instead of gathering data from research alone and building on top of existing information, we convey fieldwork in order to formulate our own knowledge base. Based on this research, we formulate a robust, discipline-agnostic brief, which prevents the client from falling into the trap of “a hammer looking for a nail.”

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Photos from previous 101 sessions at ATÖLYE, one on woodcarving (left) and on coding (right).

With the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, all repeatable and well-bounded tasks will be delegated. What remains at hand will be integrative and creative thinking skills as well as intuition-based judgements, as opposed to solely data-driven predictions. This requires a rich, multi-faceted and community-centered practice with a growth mindset.

We believe that ATÖLYE prepares all of its stakeholders for such a future, especially via its intent of transdisciplinarity. Time will show whether we will be able to get closer to it.

ATÖLYE Insights

In this publication, the ATÖLYE team shares their experiences and learnings.

ATÖLYE

Written by

ATÖLYE

ATÖLYE is a creative services organization that places a Strategic Design Studio and an Academy within a vibrant Creative Hub.

ATÖLYE Insights

ATÖLYE is a 21st-century creative services organization that places a Strategic Design Studio and an Academy within a vibrant Creative Hub.

ATÖLYE

Written by

ATÖLYE

ATÖLYE is a creative services organization that places a Strategic Design Studio and an Academy within a vibrant Creative Hub.

ATÖLYE Insights

ATÖLYE is a 21st-century creative services organization that places a Strategic Design Studio and an Academy within a vibrant Creative Hub.

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