From Visualization to Realization: Holistically Experiencing the Dilemmas of Sustainability"
|Ralph Meima, School for International Training, USA|
|A recurrent theme in the debates about sustainability is the need to widely and effectively cultivate systemic thinking. Another is the elusiveness of the will and commitment to lead sustainable change. Through a series of eleven real-resource, total immersion simulation games carried out in the US and Sweden since 1996, called "reality labs", I have sought to design a training method that stimulates systemic thinking in a vivid, memorable, and personally transforming way. "Reality labs" unfold over several days in an outdoor setting. Teams use real resources, and encounter a variety of dilemmas in which economic, ethical, and environmental goals collide. Contingencies like energy crises and territorial disputes introduce drama and intensify teams' dilemmas. Management, organization, performance measurement, social accountability, and strategy are some of the skill areas that participants focus on while apprehending sustainability, nature, and their own basic needs on other levels. To date, nearly 500 people from dozens of countries have taken part in the evolving prototype "reality labs" - most recently at the School for International Training (SIT) in Vermont. Reactions have been quite positive, and considerable enthusiasm generated each time, but research into their short- and long-term learning effects has been almost non-existent. |
This workshop will present and explore a proposal for a program in partnership with the Greening of Industry Network and SIT for developing "reality labs" further and evaluating their effectiveness. We will look at how experiential and adventure-based programs have been evaluated in the past, and at the criteria that should be used for judging the effects of "realty labs", that is, at the outlines of a roadmap of conceptual and attitudinal development that movement in a sustainable direction requires. The workshop will include active sampling of some of the situations faced by teams in a "reality lab" exercise.
From Visualization to Realization
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Tuesday, 9 November 2004, OT