WIT Press

How to foster fruitful collaborations – the impact of sustainability science


Free (open access)


Volume 6 (2021), Issue 4



Page Range

347 - 358

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Lara Brungs, Katharina Kötter-Lange, Jana Kottmeier, Rebecca Poersch & Petra Schweizer-Ries


One of the most urgent topics of the present, yet only slowly and arduously proceeding, is the energy transition, especially in the heat and building sector. Here, the basic hypothesis is that collaborations between all stakeholders involved are crucial to accelerate the process. The opening of every individual towards the perspective of others and an overarching joint intention is needed. Working from a sustainability science perspective, it is argued that approaching the transition from inside the system will lead to a common ground for collective action. The authors’ role as communication researchers and transformative scientists is embedded in the broader accompanying research for the energy transition in the building sector (‘Energiewendebauen’). With this paper and authors’ work within the broader research network, an attempt is made to open the minds for innovative ways of working and facilitating the shift between science and practice by fostering thriving collaborations applying communication and collaboration knowledge. For this purpose, a multitude of different methods are drawn upon, some of which will be presented in this paper with a special focus on Generative Scribing, which is an artistic approach established in the context of Theory U. Although the method might initially be perceived as being rather unusual by some people and the practicing of this new way of working and communicating might even be rejected by a few, first findings show that when this method is used, people are intuitively attracted and open up in the process.


collaboration, energy transition, generative scribing, interdisciplinarity, sustainability science, Theory U, transdisciplinary, transformation, transformational science, transepistemic.