EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems

Summary & Activities

We reached the end of Lesson 11, which explored some important social and behavioral factors affecting the development and adoption of new technologies. This process of adoption goes through several decision points - both at the business level (for example, through collaborative decision making) and at community level (through social networking and hierarchies). Social networks are seen to grow in power with respect to how they can influence group decisions and trends. One important factor to emphasize at any stage is time. Timeline of technology development and adoption is directly linked to the delays in feedback loops, which control the dynamics of the whole sustainability cycle.

This lesson is the last one in this course and it is capped with a discussion of global system of connections and trends, in which technology has a definite leverage point. Through all the lessons, we reviewed and got some exercise with a few methods of technology assessment, which will be hopefully useful in your future professional practice.

This will be the end of our formal content for this class. You will spend the remaining time on finalizing your course project report, which is supposed to synthesize the ideas learned over these eleven weeks.

Assignments for Lesson 11:
Type Assignment Directions Submit To
Reading Complete all necessary reading assigned in this lesson.  

After reading the lesson materials on page 11.1, engage in discussion on how individual bias often affect people's decisions. But how about starting with yourself. We all are biased in some way, and it often depends on our previous experience, asymmetry in our knowledge system, media, and various random factors. It is not easy to recognize your own bias, but this forum challenges you to try. For this forum:

  • Based on the categories in Table 1 in [Network for Business Sustainability, Making Sustainable Choices. A Guide for Managers, 2012], pick one bias you think you have with respect to any theme in sustainability or technology (it can be either negative or positive bias).
  • Share your reflection and explain possible reasons why you may have it.
  • If a discussion took place on the subject you indicated, what argument would you use to state your point of view?
  • Here are some examples of bias some people have. If you believe you are completely bias-free, you can make up one for this forum.
  • Provide response to at least two participants on the forum. Do you think their bias may steer them away from an objective assessment? Provide your comments, reassurance, or counter-arguments in a positive way.

Deadline: for initial posting - this Sunday; for comment to other posts - Wednesday night.


Lesson 11 Discussion 


Activity: Building an agenda for a decision making session

Study the methodology of structured decision making (SDM) in section 11.1 of this lesson prior to doing this assignment.

Imagine a scenario when you need to moderate a decision making session on a topic of sustainable technology implementation. The goal of this activity would be to create a plan for such a meeting based on the steps and tools described in the above-mentioned SDM method.

The topic for this session should be a prospective technology of your interest, and the target for decision making would be choosing between existing alternatives. You may choose the same technology or subject that you have researched for your individual course project. When building the agenda, please incorporate the specifics of the particular technology into your plan.

Some questions to answer:

  • What will your group / groups have to discuss?
  • What stakeholders, representatives, experts would you invite to this session?
  • What outcomes should be produced at each step?
  • What criteria of evaluation would you choose / propose?

In this assignment, you do not need to arrive to a justified decision, but simply set up a framework for a productive session.

For more details please see Lesson 11 Activity Sheet on Canvas

Deadline: Wednesday (before midnight) - check specific due dates on Canvas calendar


Lesson 11 Activity


Individual Course Project

Reminder: The last week of the course is entirely reserved for Individual course project  completion. The final report accounts for a major part of your course grade, so do your best putting together a high quality document. The final report will be due a week after the end of Lesson 11.

Good luck!

Canvas: Course Project Module