Teaching for 'intersystems analysis': how to create company-specific adaptions of a generic sustanability
Strategic sustainable development is a key research and teaching area at Blekinge institute of technology (BTH). This area involves a generic Framework for strategic sustainable development (FSSD) that helps sustainability practitioners to structure tools and concepts according to their ability to support strategic sustainability planning at five levels: (i) system understanding, (ii) principled success definition, (iii) strategic guidelines, (iv) actions and (v) supporting tools. This structuring capability has been a key element of BTH sustainability courses for several years. Another related key ability of sustainability practitioners is to create ’intersystem’ planning frameworks or to adapt the FSSD to a specific organizationor context. In 2011 we replaced a tools and concept focused assignment with a new ‘intersystems’ assignment in the BTH course introduction to strategic sustainable development (MI2407). This paper intended to assess the internal consistency and logics behind the development of the new assignment. It also intended to follow up whether the students who went through the new assignment in 2011 could demonstrate the desired ability to create adapted planning frameworks .If possible this paper was also meant to check to what degree the MI2407 students would still be able to structure tools and concepts on the levels of the FSSD, now that they got less specific training on that skill. We found a clear internal consistency and constructive alignment in how the new intersystems assignment was put together. We also found indications that the students that went through the new assignment, in the MI2407 course in 2011, gained the intended ability to create adapted frameworks, while still gaining an ability to structure tools and concepts on the levels of the FSSD comparable to previous years. If these initial indicative learning outcomes are to be substantiated by further studies then the new intersystems assignment could also become a basis for new consultancy services that The Natural Step and other consultancies could pick up and spread to the business world. This would be much in line with our department’s and BTH’s general ambition to help sustainability practitioners to improve their strategic sustainability planning capabilities and to promote sustainable growth.
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