Gemma just had a blog post published over at Integration and Implementation Insights (i2Insights)! i2Insights is a premier platform for researchers in team science, and Gemma’s post describes her experiences facilitating our team’s convergence. In the post she addresses questions like: How can principles adapted from complexity thinking be applied to convergence research? And: How can such principles catalyze scientific discovery and innovation? You can check out more here!
Dr. Callie Babbitt was recently featured on the Sustainabro podcast where she discussed a variety of topics — waste, design, industrial ecology, and life-cycle assessment, just to name a few. She even describes how she first got interested in chemical engineering, and how her experiences as a chemical engineer at her hometown’s paper mill ultimately stoked her interest in becoming an environmental engineer! Need we say more? You can check out the full conversation here.
The role of “developmental evaluation” feels very much like consulting. I collect data to get a read on the team, mirror my thoughts back to the team, and offer developmental suggestions.
My recent experience organizing and participating in NSF Convergence Accelerator future topic selection workshops gave me great food for thought. Combining my experience as the developmental evaluator for the NSF-GCR circular economy project, I cannot help but think that complexity science and convergence research are a match made in heaven. As a complexity leadership scholar and practitioner, I am interested in applying principles and practices of complexity in accelerating convergence research. Below are my initial musings.
A good doctor not only cares about statistics about your body in the past, which are lagging indicators, but also points you towards pathways to improve those statistics in the future — leading indicators. Similarly, I am much more interested in the question “How might we create enabling conditions for the team to converge?”
While the themes for the first three Cafes were pre-determined in consultation with our PI Dr. Melissa Bilec, this theme on “the human in the equation” emerged from conversations in the first three Cafes. In particular, we come to see that the point of departure for social science from engineering is whether human behaviors are included in the considerations. Remembering “each human is a complex adaptive system” from the first Cafe, maybe it is time we shed light on research when humans are included. How does human add to the equation? How are the complexities dealt with?
This is a timely topic given the big COVID context: working with uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges this pandemic has presented to humanity as a whole, and to each individual according to their unique contexts.
Some team members are wondering whether activities like Conversation Cafe are taking time away from producing deliverables to NSF. I totally get it. Time is scarce resource, so we should always be thoughtful about how we spend time.
Our first Cafe launched as smoothly as the SpaceX Dragon. I appreciated the seamless flow of the meeting, the enthusiastic energy from the team, the fun engagement through personal stories, and the wide vista of research potential revealed by interacting with complexity science. What a joy to be part of this!
As the “team” person on one of the country’s first convergence research projects, it is my utmost joy to craft and launch the “Conversation Cafe on Complexity Leadership” initiative. It has been a long time coming. The COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the research team has certainly compelled its launch, but it is not merely a reaction to the crisis. This blog series is aimed at capturing the human stories behind a growing team well into their journey.