How can we do development differently? In a series of deep dives, centre researchers and partners will explain emerging concepts within sustainability science that are crucial in order to understand rapid global environmental change caused by humans, and to assess potential solutions. Photo: A. Löf/Azote

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Transformation and rethinking development practice

The third in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development


This deep dive series sets the context for doing development in a rapidly changing world. We will be sharing selections of short, engaging video chapters taken from the recent Massive Open Online Course; ‘Transforming development – the science and practice of resilience thinking.’

In this third deep dive we look at transformation. What do we mean, from a resilience perspective, when we talk about the need to transform? What is a transformation and what makes it different from adaptation? How, and under which conditions, can new ideas, experiments and initiatives really make a difference? Can grassroots innovations scale and help solve global challenges of the

Click here to watch the first deep dive

Click here to watch the second deep dive

Click here to watch the fourth deep dive

Click here to watch the fifth deep dive

Click here to watch the sixth deep dive

Click here to watch the seventh deep dive

Defining the need for transformations to sustainability

Featuring Per Olsson
Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre

What does transformation mean from a social-ecological resilience perspective, or when we talk about it in the context of sustainable development? Is it different from adaptation? How do we know a transformation when we see one? Per introduces three key characteristics to consider when attempting transformations to sustainability: pace, scope, and the quality of change.

The promise and perils of transformative change

Featuring Michele-Lee Moore
Director of GRAID, Stockholm Resilience Centre

'Transformations to sustainability' sound hopeful and exciting, however they are also long, challenging, and if you are deliberately trying to undertake one, you may be met with resistance at different points in the process. Bringing together lessons learned from a multitude of studies across different sectors and continents, Michele-Lee shares ideas about the different phases of transformation processes and the actions that humans can take within those phases to support transformative change processes.

Rethinking innovation and scale

Featuring Per Olsson, researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Michele-Lee Moore, director of GRAID, Stockholm Resilience Centre

In order to transform the ways that humans are currently approaching development, we need new innovations. In this video, Per and Michele-Lee introduce new ways of thinking about innovations for sustainability what they can involveand how to re-think strategies for scaling impact.

Creating space for transformative change

Featuring Laura Pereira
Researcher, Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University

In this video, Laura describes what makes up a “transformative space”. Laura has used one specific approach –known as a Transformation Lab or T-lab –for the South African food system and describes the ongoing, deep engagement such processes require.

Searching for opportunity and driving change

Featuring Per Olsson
Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre

People often mention that there are “windows of opportunity” for change. Using the case of Chilean coastal fisheries and a governance transformation that occurred over a decade, Per reminds us that opportunity is more of a spectrum. This piece explores the need for different strategies depending on how you may be trying to change the landscape of opportunities.

Practitioner reflection: R-Labs – transforming community and making hope contagious

Featuring Marlon Parker
Founder, RLabs –‘Reconstructed Living Labs’

While research on transformations to sustainability is full of ideas and ideals about how to create change, these are grounded in the very real work that individuals and organizations are already leading around the world. In this video, we meet Marlon Parker,the founder of R-Labs, based in the Cape Flats. Through a focus on making hope contagious in their community, R-labs is constantly challenging and transforming systems. From education for adult women to facing down gangs, drugs, and youth unemployment, there is no challenge too big for R-labs to tackle. Learn more about how R-labs puts the concepts of innovation, scaling, transformative spaces, and opportunity into practice.

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201