A transdiciplinary research approach: challenges and benefits of co-production

Hansson, H., Mwango, F., Otieno, J. & Nyström, M. (2014). A transdiciplinary research approach: challenges and benefits of co-production. In Design with the other 90%: Cumulus Johannesburg Conference Proceedings. A. Breytenbach & K. Pope (eds.). Johannesburg: Cumulus Johannesburg (Greenside Design Center and the University of Johannesburg), 2014. pp. 383-391.

Publication type
Conference paper (peer-reviewed)
Market places
Helena Hansson Frankling Mwango Jennifher Otieno Maria Nyström
Published year
Transdisciplinary research approaches co-creation marketplaces prototyping systems design challenges



Problems concerning Sustainable Urban Development are complex and can no longer be dealt only within pre-existing disciplines and structures for planning and decision-making. (Mistra Urban Futures (MUF) Handbook 2013) “A key characteristic of scientific approaches that focus on contributing to sustainability is participation. In the scientific sphere, this includes the integration of different types of scientific and non-scientific knowledge. One of the most popular concepts used to refer to this type of participatory work is transdisciplinary research”. (Polk 2014). Research projects based on jointknowledge production are unusual, and there are few real templates to follow. (MUF Handbook 2013) This paper describes a case study, connected to the MUF interactive platform in Kisumu1. The research students describe and reflect on the situation to understand what challenges and opportunities a transdisciplinary approach gives to the over-all process. It aims to produce outcomes that can be further implemented and support researchers working in practice based transdisciplinary projects.

Initial Findings:
-Complexity takes time and requires an open mind-set and ability to work with multiple framings.
-Trust-building ability is a key - to be present, transparent and build dialogues
-A Shared ownership of the process is necessary
-Prototyping and establishing a Shared Digital Working Space with Easy Access are a useful cocreative method to implement knowledge
-Reflection and Facilitation is needed to support and deepen the collaborative working process.

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