Dialogues and Learning
SwedBio is striving towards fostering collaborative learning with science, policy and practice and connecting diverse knowledge systems. This is done in the multi-actor dialogue processes but also in other science and practice collaborative learning process.
SwedBio has in recent years been organizing and facilitating multi-actor dialogues on different levels between diverse actors to craft solutions together for specific policy and methods development processes.
The Chinese finger trap: When you push your fingers into each end of these straw tubes and then try to remove them, the tube diameter shrinks and grabs the digits firmly. The more you struggle, the more your fingers are trapped. The only way to create enough room to get your fingers back out is to do something counterintuitive: push them deeper into the tube, which only then relaxes its grip.[i]
An observation during International environment and development negotiations has been that to some extent the problems are due to lack of understanding and dialogue. Governments and other actors have worked as polar opposites, sometimes even refusing to talk to each other out of mistrust and anger instead of trying to understand what other parties have been trying to express. For some time it has seemed that negotiations have gone into the Chinese finger trap: negotiators try to pull and pull but the difficulties or knots in the negotiations has become harder and harder instead of being dissolved. A hypothesis that SwedBio has worked with is that a solution could instead be to go deeper into the root causes of the inability to find common understanding and seek solutions that knowledge rich dialogues could contribute to. Some of the knots are of course due to different political views, commitments and responsibilities to the governments and peoples the negotiators are representing. But the hypothesis for SwedBio’s multi-actor dialogues has been that it would be easier to solve the knots through stepping back and exploring what other parties are actually trying to bring forth, through improved dialogue opportunities and an improved dialogue culture.
It might be that the biggest single opportunity we have in the quest to reach a sustainable future is dialogue. Except for knowledge it also demands a mind shift. SwedBio have now explored this method in a few dialogue processes and have reached encouraging results. Read more about the different dialogues here.
One example of a collaborative development of methods has been the Multiple Evidence Base Approach, a method for connecting diverse knowledge systems based on equity, transparency and usefulness for all actors involved. MEB is developed in a collaborative partnership between SwedBio, SRC researchers and SwedBio partners among indigenous peoples and local community organisations.
Guiding principles for knowledge collaborations
When engaging in co-creation of new knowledge across knowledge systems and cultures it is important to have a clear framework and transparent principles and procedures to guide the motivation, character and intent of the collaborative initiatives.
SwedBio’s Guiding principles for knowledge collaboration, which are applicable in all our collaborations, under both the Dialogue for knowledge and policy and the Collaborative partner implementation pathways can be found here (link).