The area "Transformative Methods. Processes and Practices" (TMPP) is a hub and competence centre for the discussion, reflection and development of the IASS approach for transformative research. Its activities focus on improving our understanding of how to catalyse transformation processes by fostering agency within complex systems.
The IASS approach addresses sustainability-related transformations from a systems-based, relational perspective, drawing on several past IASS publications on systems challenges, co-creative process design and relational ontology. This approach emphasizes the interconnections between different aspects of sustainability and requires reflexive, innovative understandings, methods, and mindsets to navigate complex transformation processes. The research area develops evaluation frameworks (knowing), empirical methods (doing) and reflexive communication formats (being) to support effective transdisciplinary research and practice.
Three research groups address this focus from three complementary perspectives: TD-TEC (Transdisciplinary Theory, Evaluation, and Culture), Trans-Mind (Transformative Spaces and Mindsets) and MTPA (Methods of transformative policy advice). The group TD-TEC develops conceptual understanding (knowing, theory) of how systems change processes can be described and evaluated for example through indicators of a transformative systems-change culture. The group MTPA empirically investigates (doing, methodology) context-specific transformation processes in fields of sustainability-related change such as the energy transition or mobility. The group Trans-Mind develops and offers formats, for example, for co-creative reflective and dialogue spaces at the UNFCCC COP meetings, for people and stakeholders inside and outside IASS to reflect on their mindsets (being, subjectivity) as part of developing context-specific agency. With these three complementary foci, the area integrates the IASS' ambitions to a) advance the academic discourse on transdisciplinarity and b) provide advice and active support to social transformation by empowering change agents and decision-makers in society and policy.
The three groups serve different roles with regards to learning about transdisciplinarity within and around the IASS. The group TD-TEC reflects and conceptualizes the transdisciplinary understanding and research practice of the IASS and communicates it to academic peers. The group MTPA monitors the development of transdisciplinary methods outside the IASS and enables a flow of insights into the Institute. The group Trans-Mind hosts formats for reflecting and contextualizing key insights within the IASS and for selected stakeholder groups. In addition, the research area offers workshops for scholars from inside and outside the IASS, enabling them to reflect and further develop their capacities to engage as researchers in a transdisciplinary context, particularly in the science-policy interface. The area helps scholars in learning what it means to act as "self-reflexive researchers" in transdisciplinary work processes and consciously navigate the tensions they may experience as they move between different roles in science-society interactions. These research and empowerment activities are intended to help researchers and other stakeholders deal with overwhelming complexity and empower them to understand, identify, and actively step into context-specific agency for sustainability-related transformations.