The new approach to solve today's problems
October 4, 2021
Transdisciplinary approach. In a world of vague buzzwords, this one deserves extra attention. We have created a hyper-connected era, which means our problems are increasingly complex and intertwined across several disciplines. We need dynamic solutions, and the only way to find these solutions is to change the way we think, and look for new approaches.
Trans-disciplinary is the new approach.
You’ve probably heard of interdisciplinary approaches already, so what’s the difference? Interdisciplinarity focuses on linking two or more disciplines, recognising the influence and impact each perspective has on the other. A transdisciplinary approach goes a step further, dissolving boundaries of these disciplines to create an entirely new holistic perspective. This approach integrates fields of knowledge, theories, and perspectives in a system focused on creating new, unexpected ideas and solutions with a social purpose. Our thinking evolves towards discovering new ways to tackle problems. Imagine a hoteling app designed with thinking drawn from an astrophysicist — the outcome will probably be totally different than what you’d expect with a team of individuals from industries related to technology and hospitality. Thinking about the innovative people making radical changes today, it’s often individuals who combine knowledge and skills from several fields in a way that creates new opportunity and value.
What are the key attributes of this new approach?
- It combines all forms of knowledge — academic, experience-based, personal, theoretical
- It transcends individual disciplines to form something new
- It is purpose-led, focused on addressing common human and social experiences
To enable a transdisciplinary approach, you need an open mindset. You need to be comfortable with the unknown. You will need to accept that the skills and knowledge you have categorised within certain disciplines may exist elsewhere, and they may be better. A teacher engages in human-centered design daily just as much as a marketer with a degree in design-thinking.
The learning curve is steep, but the rewards of stepping towards a transdisciplinary approach is game-changing.