This task is the second part of a two-part research project that will support you in identifying, contextualising, critically analysing and interpreting relevant design practices through key theories and concepts in a range of different global contexts. You will write an academic essay using the essay question you selected earlier this term and the annotated bibliography you prepared for Assessment 1.
You will write an academic essay of 2000 words. In this process, you will:
- address your essay topic;
- critically analyse and interpret selected case studies;
- using Assessment 1 as a starting point, integrate selected resources into your writing to support your argument;
- engage with relevant theories and concepts.
Academic Essay: INTERDISCIPLINARY INSIGHTS, COLLABORATIVE APPROACHES TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES
Global issues commonly appear as multifaced and complex and according to their nature they require a collaborative and comprehensive treatment or resolution process). It is already understood that these issues easily transcend global boundaries and make independent management systems go toward failure. In this very situation, the interconnected of countries must be proved through collaborative resolution-making (OECD, 2021). For example, the Coronavirus pandemic showcased how health hazards can rapidly worsen global crises and damage national (of individual nations’) health infrastructures by necessitating collaborative and collective action across multi-disciplinary countries. The power of collective action (i.e., collaboration) among healthcare professionals, biotechnologists and policymakers developed an accurate vaccine that was globally considered an effective treatment for the COVID-19 crisis (Alderwick et al., 2021).
Apart from the above situations, tons of international issues demand innovative actions that can only be facilitated through the thorough integration of diverse disciplines. For instance, bio-inspired design requires vast knowledge of biological processes to solve technical issues (Hashemi Farzaneh, 2020). Apart from this innovation, collaborative approaches make the problem-solving process more inclusive and enable a thorough involvement of various marginalised communities in the identification of problems and their suitable solutions. It is also noted that shared responsibilities in global issues underscores the importance of collective action. Without adapting its potential capacity to tackle the emerging issues may remain underdeveloped, leaving individual nations vulnerable to global shocks. Thus, multidisciplinary and collaborative responses are essential. The current study explores various examples and case studies where collaboration between policymakers, designers, and engineers, among other professionals, has informed suitable yet accurate responses to emerging global issues. The study also highlights the importance of collective responses between nations in the global context.
Collaboration between engineers and designers is sometimes vital in product development. They position their work from several angles while ensuring success in almost every project. For instance, Granular, a well-known agricultural software development organisation, believes that trust is the major element toward a successful collaboration between designers and engineers. A successful collaboration between policymakers and designers at Cornell University led to the development of optimised strategies to address COVID-19 challenges. They worked collectively to promote childcare for the first responders and design quality surveys to gather responses from the local municipal leaders about the ongoing COVID-19 challenges. Another dominant example revolves around the Health Policy Research Group in Nigeria, which collectively worked with regional policymakers to support evidence-based policymaking.
The collaboration between engineers and architects is also mentionable as this directly helped the remote working system during the Covid pandemic. To fulfil the growing demand for engineering, architecture and construction (AEC) projects they worked collaboratively to deliver working yet effective computer systems. As per a survey conducted by HP, more than three-quarters of the total 270 IT leaders reported that they were already using desktops and personal systems to establish remote connections between teams (Arch Daily, 2023). The collaboration between architects, constructors and engineers took place in a hybrid working structure during the pandemic. Using CAD applications individuals were able to develop photorealistic structural designs for buildings. The thorough usage of visualisation and design software powered by NVIDIA Omniverse, also helped the collaboration to contribute something positive to global structures (i.e., architectures) (Arch Daily, 2023).
Another example of collaboration between architects and engineers is the Ayia Napa Marina project, where the civil engineering team and several architects worked hard on a coastal project. The whole project design was against flooding (i.e., as seal level changes rapidly). All the buildings were designed across the shoreline of the eastern Mediterranean island (Cyprus) (Engineering, 2017). The sound knowledge of architects complimented the whole design and finally, a beautiful landside was developed, which included a marina. The whole infrastructure supported by the yachting facility appeared as a cohesive design. Both the civil engineers and architects were allowed to contribute to structural improvements. Another example of this architect-civil engineer duo can be the Opera House (Sydney) where Ove Arup (civil) and Jorn Utzon (architect) worked together. While ensuring overall structural stability the usage of concrete shells complimented the aesthetic appeal of the innovative building (Rare Historical Photos, 2022).
Multidisciplinary actions can save burning situations like climate change. The STEPS centre situated at Sussex, has been tackling global issues through a collaborative partnering approach. From its founding year (i.e., 2006) STEPS always prioritised international partnerships that connect different talents and flourish their ideas and innovations toward technology, science and innovation (Taylor, 2021). Researchers at STEPS generally work with global partners to address issues in various projects linked with climate change, agriculture, health, water and energy. For instance, the project called “Governance of Socio-Technical Transformations” investigates the interrelations between agriculture, energy systems and digital infrastructures in urban areas. Scholars and educational research institutes from different countries are involved in this study. The co-director of STEPS, Andy Stirling and researchers of Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research (Germany), Harvard University (Cambridge), African Technology Centre (Kenya) and Environment Support (Bangalore) are collaborating on this project (Taylor, 2021).
Public-private partnerships have greatly proliferated the repose toward COVID-19 by mobilising businesses, public researchers, philanthropic organisations and governments from around the globe to work together on developing countermeasures. The WHO played a vital role in encouraging these partnerships. The partnerships, most of which were developed during the Ebola outbreak made significant contributions to the profound distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across nations. They also have been drawn global research-supported measures including platform technologies to revolutionise vaccine production and design. Collaborations on COVID-19 clinical trials also grew significantly, the trials were focused on drug tests and vaccine development. As per the NIH portal, the US held the largest number of trials that focused on drug testing. On the other hand, China came second by holding vaccine trials (OECD, 2021). Apart from COVID-19, some challenges occur in every nation daily. Successful collaborations between global innovators are thus required to facilitate appropriate strategies against these challenges. However, there are further challenges including investment uncertainty, low business capacity, lack of government arrangements etc. which often disturb international cooperation between nations. Considering these hurdles global research cooperation remains dominated by collective actions and collaborative responses.
As per reports, nearly 130 people across the US die from opioid overdose which directly impacts the overall life expectancy of Americans. To battle this problem several law enforcement agencies come together and implement multiple collaborative initiatives. A group of law enforcement experts called by NIJ (National Institute of Justice), the research team of DOJ (Department of Justice), RAND Corporation and PERF (Police Executive Forum) collaboratively prioritised 13 high-priority needs that are to be addressed to eliminate this opioid death tragedy (National Institute of Justice, 2019). Four of these were extremely important as they needed immediate action: a) usage of medication-supported treatment modes in communities and institutions, b) same-day treatment with the help of a medication-first model, c) syndromic surveillance to predict sudden spikes in opioid overdose and other drug crises d) mental health improvement interventions for enforcement officers who are stressed by continuously responding to opioid deaths. The working group equipped naloxone (i.e., a life-saving response to opioid overdose) to prevent the fatal conditions caused by overdose (White et al., 2021). More than 2,500 agencies worked together to stop the opioid tragedy through diversion programs, data sharing and naloxone programs.
Collaboration between biotechnologists and artists has created a new genre called bio-art where artists use living organisms to showcase their creativeness. This particular form of art usually involves philosophical and ethical expressions supporting the importance of nature and life along with biotechnology. Biotechnology and bio-art consecutively have been contributing toward addressing serious global issues. Biotechnology is positioned to alter chemical processes and polluting materials with more biological, biodegradable and sustainable alternatives. For instance, organisations like Carbios and Avantium are constructing methods to develop 100% recyclable “bioplastics” from forestry and agricultural waste (Fernández, 2019). This can offer a sustainable yet ecological alternative to the traditional petrochemical plastic plants. Apart from the above, biotechnology is also used for developing more sustainable washing products (i.e., detergents). These specially developed enzymatic detergents can work in less water, and low temperatures and are biodegradable, which ultimately reduces hazards caused by sulphate-infused toxic detergents. In the energy industry, crops are being used to produce biofuels which are great alternatives to fossil fuels.
On the other hand, bio-art is emerging as a contemporary art form that utilises various traditional mediums that appear biological. These often include genes, cells, molecules, organs, tissues, landscapes, ecosystems and living organisms. In the time of emerging global challenges, bio-art effectively communicates feelings and thoughts that often involve relationships between the creator (i.e., the artist), the public, science and the selected biological concept. For instance, Yunchul Kim, a well-known Seoul artist collaborated with several renowned scientists of the Leibniz Astrophysics Institute for CERN and Astrophysics Potsdam (KIM, 2021). The collaboration took place to create a defined artwork that showcases the hydrodynamic flow of (using) magnetic fields.
Collaboration between design and policymaking can be mentioned here as this is taking a major role in several government initiatives. Here design refers to a systematic unique innovation by humans, artificial intelligence or AI. AI has been leveraged by governments to strengthen policymaking in the short run. Policymaking includes forecasting outcomes, identifying patterns, analysing effectiveness and implementing evidence-included programs. AI will not replace policymakers but accurately abide by the above targets with a more comprehensive, rigorous and faster approach (Abillama et al., 2021). In each stage of policymaking, AI can generate more impact and value. However, the algorithms existing in AI can continue the loophole-included practice of the government. Moreover, privacy-related threats can appear. For tackling these possible shortcomings AI must be programmed with fairness, accountability and transparency.
Wildlife conservation in South Africa is using AI-based monitoring equipment. However, a thorough collaboration between designers, AI specialist and policymakers have taken place to identify if the equipment complies with the predetermined AI ethics. In this case, the collaborators used the agile software cycle method to implement necessary guidelines regarding the ethical upgrade of the existing AI inspection system in wildlife conservation (Isabelle & Westerlund, 2022). The guidelines promote diversity in raw data collection, minimisation of bias and intentional harm, design compliance and ease of inspection. This guideline-supported framework can inform users, AI developers, policymakers and conservationists about what must be considered while integrating AI-based equipment.
It is notable that, though the conservation of threatened species across different parts of South Africa has become immensely successful there are reports of illegal poaching which poses danger to several animals. The SPOTS (Strategic Protection Team, formed to protect threatened species) team has been tirelessly working to eliminate illegal poaching activities. However, constant monitoring of animals across the huge area has always been challenging with limited forest rangers. So, the implementation of unmanned vehicles (UAV) is required. The SPOTS collaborated with FruitPunch AI to develop a unique poacher detection software (FruitPunch AI, 2022). This software would be integrated into autonomous drones. Thousands of engineers, developers, designers and policymakers are working collectively to develop an AI-powered flying ranger. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to meet the stable operating conditions across the South African animal reserves.
The thorough collaborations between designers and architects, policymakers, engineers, biotechnologists, artists and other professionals significantly developed effective solutions for global issues. Different nations have come together to formulate an optimal yet practical resolution to address or mitigate an international issue. These collaborations mostly brought positive outcomes. Though cultural, lingual and other demographical barriers generally appear when people from ‘opposite poles’ interact, the practice of this coordination and support during tough situations continues.
Collaborative processes do inform effective yet sound responses to global problems. The study explores various aspects of these global collaborations where people from different professional backgrounds work coordinatively to form a solution or eliminate an issue. The collective actions taken by policymakers, engineers, architects, designers and other professionals helped nations and their people to survive in pandemic situations like COVID-19. The essay also highlighted how new art form like bio-art successfully informs nature issues through creative expressions. The integration of technologically-powered designs in policymaking improves the stability of nature whether it is wildlife conservation or community development. Finally, the multidisciplinary responses generated by diverse knowledge do create a difference in international problem-solving.
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Alderwick, H., Hutchings, A., Briggs, A., & Mays, N. (2021). The impacts of collaboration between local health care and non-health care organizations and factors shaping how they work: a systematic review of reviews. BMC Public Health, 21, 1-16. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12889-021-10630-1
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Engineering. (2017). In a Great Civil Engineer/Architect Relationship, Conflict Breeds Creativity. https://www.engineering.com/story/in-a-great-civil-engineerarchitect-relationship-conflict-breeds-creativity.
Fernández, C.R. (2019). 10 Ways Biotechnology Makes the World More Sustainable. https://www.labiotech.eu/best-biotech/sustainable-biotechnology/.
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OECD. (2021). 5. Resolving global challenges and crises through international collaboration | OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2021: Times of Crisis and Opportunity. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/e0643f52-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/e0643f52-en.
Rare Historical Photos., (2022). The construction of Sydney Opera House through historical photographs, 1959-1973 – Rare Historical Photos. [online] Available at: https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/sydney-opera-house-construction-photos/.
Taylor, R. (2021). A Multidisciplinary Approach to Global Challenges | AACSB. https://www.aacsb.edu/insights/articles/2021/10/a-multidisciplinary-approach-to-global-challenges.
White, M. D., Perrone, D., Watts, S., & Malm, A. (2021). Moving beyond Narcan: A police, social service, and researcher collaborative response to the opioid crisis. American journal of criminal justice, 46, 626-643. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12103-021-09625-w