Prototyping Ecosystems towards Transformative Impact

Ph.D. Research

IIT Institute of Design

2019 - ongoing

My research started from my journey as a social entrepreneur, with a growing feeling of the inadequacy of our understanding of change in society. Working in collaboration with multiple organizations, from governmental departments to nonprofits, I would often find myself stupefied by the structural resistance of changes, while all these people would be striving for sustainable futures in all goodwill. 

Simply put, our traditional ways of approaching change fall short in capturing the complexity of systemic challenges, let alone addressing these. One of the main challenges that flow from complexity is uncertainty of the outcomes. When there are countless variables that act in connection, it is hard to predict the exact pathways that can lead to the desirable outcomes. Yet, uncertainty is both the challenge and the opportunity in dealing with complexity. While it draws the limits of our so meticulously planned strategies, it also offers the possibility of creating larger impact by small modifications. When uncertainty limits the strategic space, an iterative approach can lead to adaptive responses to the changes.

Communities play a critical role in addressing the local instances of systemic issues, as the experts of the conditions that they live in, unlike an outsider who could not reach beyond the surface. Unlike pre-defined strategies, community-led solutions can co-evolve as the surrounding conditions change, potentially better dealing with uncertainty. However, the assets of communities need to be re-combined with the resources of a diverse set of actors, in order to achieve impact.

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It all starts with a question:

What kind of prototyping can help catalyze the transformative impact of community-led initatives?

I am exploring the conditions that would enable prototyping of new infrastructures, that would facilitate the interaction between different actors. As different actors have different structures for the flow of knowledge, allocation of resources and interpretation of outcomes, it is often hard to arrive a shared understanding of a desirable future and the pathway leading there. Therefore, I am searching for new ways to facilitate bridging the gap between our imagined futures and our current structures. 

Contact me to share your ideas, to collaborate or simply to ask questions!