A sustainable thing?

Recap: Symbiosis in Development (SiD) Workshop with Tom Bosschaert

Today, we had the honour to be challenged by the founder of the Symbiosis in Development (SiD) methodology – a combination of systems thinking, complexity analysis, iterative design thinking and co-creation in multi-disciplinary teams. Through the processes in defining, mapping and planning how Audacity could be and look like, we got to wear different hats and delve into topics that really mattered to us individually as well as a community.

One notable moment was the profound mindshift we experienced when Tom challenged us with a very simple question that tested our limited conception of sustainability, “Is this a sustainable can of coke?”. There wasn’t a right answer to this question because there isn’t one. Instead, we were encouraged to challenge the common notion of sustainability by responding with the right question instead, “How is this can of coke contributing to the sustainability of this society?” That set the tone of the day and we dove into applying the SiD framework for Audacity.

At the first stage of the SiD method, we were brought through a very helpful visioning exercise for everyone to align on what the objective for Audacity is. After a wild brainstorming session to regurgitate all the ideas that are important to us for Audacity, we tried our hand at creating our very own System Maps. This exercise was very key in identifying common themes and relations to consider which leads us to Roadmap Planning – over a timeline, we had to decide on progressive executions needed to make to reach our goal. We ended the day with an immersive Network Game, using ourselves and our randomly selected two-connection with others, and moving around a space to witness the dynamism of objects and its interactive relations in a system. Key takeaways from conversations during the workshop:

  1. Keep objectives SMART and performance-oriented. Never describe the goal/solution/outcome so that there is flexibility in tweaking and adapting the details to meet the objective.
  2. Depending on the problem dependency on social and economy factors or mechanical, we must bear in mind that we are not predicting any outcome but to understand it.
  3. SiD is a tool. Not a truth. It is meant to be continuously iterative as a guideline – not a rule. This is why there is also no measurement tools as the interpretation lies in the user and it will be unique for all scenarios.
  4. Get to know one another’s strengths and play on it.

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