Experimenting and learning about landscape level and paradigm change

In the Lab we are seeking to push forward approaches to system change. Over the five years since we set up the team that has included innovating processes, such as sector collaborations, scaling up impact, design futures and our overall approach to change (to name a few).

This year (2016) our current focus of experimentation is about how we might influence the wider context that many systems are a part of — the landscape — which includes the social-values and paradigms. This personally was a concluding question of my PhD, an area that needs more exploration.

We are testing the hypothesis that #theBIGshift we need to cultivate is a paradigm shift — to challenge the current models and align to something more systemic and possibly living systems… we are interested in where and how that is emerging with the digital revolution and trends such as citizen innovation and new working patterns (again more on this from others).

We are currently exploring a few possible approaches to both channel these pressures from the landscape as well as influence the wider context. This currently include:

a. How we use the disruptive enablers or pressures such as the digital revolution as a root to shifting multiple regimes or systems such as food and energy

b. How we use concepts and design futures, in the niches or margins of systems to bring to life and demonstrate where new paradigms are emerging and possibly influencing the landscape — see our project Living Grid

c. How can we use communications, through framing, naming and shaping narratives to influence values and paradigms — for example as part of the Marine Collaboration

d. Through exploring what is happening in our work in sectors and regimes, such as the protein system and to understand how these are influencing the wider system they are a part of

e. The role of equipping change agents to understand the paradigm they are operating in to inform their strategies that might start to influence this wider world — (we are developing the School of System Change, currently in concept stage to help us achieve — more to follow!!)

f. Exploring how we might use our futures approach and looking at deep sustainability transitions with SPRU to further work we have been doing on projects such as EU Innovate

As with all good Lab work we are very much at early stages of exploring what this all means — but we would love to hear from you if you have anything to contribute or insights we can learn together from!