Maps & Exhibits

There Is a Me in Us and We: Understanding Selfishness in Transdisciplinary Collaborations Among Design Students to Facilitate Sustainability Outcomes

Wan-Ching Yang

Savannah College of Art and Design

For the sake of achieving sustainability on a macro and long-term scale, transdisciplinary collaboration is essential and inevitable. However, there exist challenges in bringing sustainability into a multidisciplinary team, particularly with disciplines that do not necessarily involve sustainability as their consideration in design development. Additionally, perceptions about sustainability are primarily bound with altruistic notions and intentions, which can easily be taken in a way that goes against an individual’s ‘selfish’ psychological nature. The visualization is developed as part of a study on the understanding of selfishness in individuals in transdisciplinary collaboration among design students. This research aims to reveal the manifestation of selfishness in students’ transdisciplinary collaborations and its impact on the overall development of sustainable practices. Driven mainly by selfishness, superiority and biases, pose substantial obstacles to sustainability realization by influencing team dynamics. The insight is a reminder for sustainability students and practitioners to acknowledge the role of their superiority and biases as a part of system dynamics in transdisciplinary collaboration for sustainability outcomes. The map is a call for recognizing selfishness as an unignorable driving force. It also puts forward a potential strategy for transdisciplinary collaborations.

Reading transdisciplinary collaborations

The map has fourteen diagrams. The visualization mainly includes a Compass, two models, seven causal loop diagrams, and other variants for assisting explanation. The pyramid-shaped Compass serves as a guide to the entire map. It synthesizes the relationships among different diagrams. Numbers labelled on the Compass can navigate readers to zoom into diagrams that provide more details about specific phenomena. Each diagram in this visualization demonstrates the phenomena that undermine key qualities for decent transdisciplinary collaboration where design is involved. The qualities are listed below each diagram to help readers connect to the problems in the scenarios.

Map & Video: There Is a Me in Us and We

To view the map detail, click the black arrow on the right. You can zoom in from the view on the new tab and explore the whole map. You can also download the full-size map from the new tab.

Posted September 2021 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.