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Topic ICT May Enrich the Modelling Process by Expanding the Boundaries of Agreement
Participants | Roger Harnden | Alfonso Reyes | Clas-Otto Wene | Roberto Zarama |
Critics | David Best | Raul Espejo | Keith Pheby | Barnaby Sheppard |

Meeting 1 NotesMeeting 2 NotesMeeting 3 Notes

Outcome Resolve

Co-ordinator = Alfonso Reyes

The original name of our topic was: "ICT AND MODELLING THE HERE AND NOW", however, during the discussions it became clear that we were not "modelling the here and now", we were "widening the here and now". The modelling function (under certain circumstances that we touched on), might 'widen the here and now', in the sense of adding a 'spatial dimension' to decision making and consensus - the dimension of interaction, as distinct from the dimension of historical narrative (see Brown Group). This is why we changed the name of the topic to


In addressing this topic we explored de following question: Is there an intrinsic quality to ICT's (in their modelling capacity) that does something to the quality of human interaction? If that is the case, do these qualitative aspects allow us to talk about a 'widening of the here and now'? The Internet could be assessed as an example of ICT improving transparency in policy making, through disseminating expertise across stakeholders, and enabling the process of informed decision-making to take more account of the concerns and interest of affected actors.

Models are a starting point in any policy making but we need further to improve and develop the theoretical underpinnings to clearly incorporate the following statement: an expert is not just for expertise but for encouraging the modelling process and sensitively engendering reflection in the stakeholders who constitute the system in focus. In other words, expertise might be seen not as a once and for all injection of knowledge by 'the expert', but as a process of heightening awareness and the shared understanding of the variety of interests that need to co-existence in order for policy to be truly effective.

At the same time, there is a conscious shift from the tradition of modelling an observed system (von Foerster - i.e. from "outside") to the effects of including the stakeholders in the modelling process and engender their experience of at least in part being constitutive of the entailed system ('i.e. 'observing system' - von Foerster). The following diagram illustrates the point.

Working Diagram of Policy Making

For the above we are working to formulate a research proposal on how ICT has the potential to enable recursive modelling. For this we shall be working towards the definition of the resources for:

  1. A literature study to enhance our current understanding of modelling in policy making.
  2. The organisation of a seminar (using experts) about modelling/strategy processes.
  3. To develop a case study based on an energy-planning example in Holland/Sweden.