The concept of knowledge practices is increasingly central to much of my research, thinking and work and, as part of this, I’m developing a list a practices-of-interest. Some of these practices are also innovation-oriented and not only used for producing or appraising knowledge or for facilitating the use (or “uptake”) of findings/scientific evidence.
I’m also keen to hear suggestions regarding practices that deserve greater attention and/or that are becoming “hotter”.
Here’s my draft list of practices-of-interest:
- “Innovation labs”, e.g. ARENA’s “A-Lab” initiative which is a “grid integration innovation lab” (link) focussed on the “the most complex challenges of integrating renewables and grids”; Rocky Mountain Institute’s E-Lab (Electricity Innovation Lab)
- Co-design – see the recent special issue in the journal Current the Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (link) and the following example article on co-designing research agendas for ‘climate engineering’ research (link)
- “Living labs”, e.g. the CSIRO Urban Living Lab concept (link) and the ‘living labs’ established by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (link)
- Knowledge translation
- “Red team-blue team” reviews as is controversially being extended into the climate change space by new US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (NOTE: this practice has a longer history, and takes different forms, in other contexts such as where independent work group [the “red team”] studies the potential pitfalls of a possible decision/policy and typically adopts an adversarial position)
- Transdisciplinarity / transdisciplinary research (link, link)
Other practices of interest:
- Competitive wagers/bets intended (in part) to settle disputes via theory-informed predictions – e.g. see the Simon-Ehrlich Wager (link, link) and the book The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future, and the Simmons–Tierney bet (link)
- Adversarial collaboration – a practice championed by Daniel Kahneman (link, link [p.729-730]) – and “stretch collaboration” as proposed by Adam Kahane from Reos Partners (see his book Collaborating with the Energy [link]). Related to ‘stretch’ collaboration I also recently read an interesting paper on “multi-stakeholder learning dialogues” as a form of “pluralist sensemaking” (link)
- Utilisation workshops aiming to promote or enable use of evidence/research (often emphasising “utilisation” of research by industry and/or government actors)
It might also be interesting to do further research on practices commonly used in forward-looking inquiry such as environmental/horizon scanning, visioning and “time shifting” methods, use of metaphors (link) and visualisation techniques, or the delphi method.
Some of the above practices could be studied using evaluative case study methods and – as part of this – by adapting or using theory-driven approaches to evaluation research, much like the methodology used in my doctoral research.
Additionally, a practice-based and practice-focussed approach is also relevant regarding potential inquiry into both how such research activities are actually done (in practice) and examination of related routines.