How to gain Transformation Knowledge – the 2nd Stakeholder Workshop at Lake Dümmer

To shape social change processes, we need three forms of knowledge: Systems knowledge reflects the current state and provides information about current structures and processes, their interactions and variability within a system. Target knowledge describes scenarios and futures that actors are striving for and records in images and narratives what is to be. Transformation knowledge combines system and target knowledge. It includes how we get from the actual situation to the target state. Target knowledge considers actions, processes, intermediate goals and conditions that are necessary for a change.

We gained the system knowledge of the human-lake system of Lake Dümmer through interviews with actors who regulate the use of the lake, actively use the lake for various activities such as fishing or sailing, care for the protection of nature in, around and around the lake, are active in tourism in the region and advise agriculture.

The target knowledge for the social-ecological system at Dümmer was developed in a vision workshop in November 2019 and served as starting point for the second workshop.

The second stakeholder workshop at Lake Dümmer dealt with transformation knowledge. For this purpose, the participating actors conducted a backcasting scenario: Milestones and action steps are developed that are necessary to achieve a vision of the future. One does so by imagining that the desired future situation has already been achieved and, starting from this future point in time, one considers which milestones were necessary in the past to achieve the target state. In the second step of the exercise, one starts from the present and works out the steps necessary to reach the milestones.

A collage of the vision for 2050 at Lake Dümmer.

The workshop took place virtually and lasted two hours. In order to facilitate cooperation, the participants were invited to the workshop in two groups on two different dates – we conducted the workshop twice. The video conferencing software we met in was the open source software BigBlueButton.

Even though working together in a virtual room is more difficult than in a real meeting, the virtual meeting also had advantages. The participants did not have to travel separately, which meant that we were able to welcome a total of 22 participants to our workshop (eight attended on the first date, 14 on the second). In order to make it easier to work out the milestones and intermediate steps, we used a digital screen on which we had painted a timeline. On this timeline we recorded the different milestones, intermediate steps and processes.

The discussions were lively and the results comprehensive and concrete. We present the results in a report and a summary of the report (both in German). For a short overview on how the milestones and processes of the different sectors fit together, you may watch this animation of the results (in German).


The next step will be to discuss the results with the participants to see how they like the transformation that they have been discussing and describing.