Assignment 1 2019– Understanding Local Challenges

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Time frame

  • Working period: 19.03. - 04.04.2019
  • Present your findings: Tuesday, 02.04.2019, 16 00 – 17 30 CET

Accompanying Learning materials

Task description

  • Social, economic and environmental problems appear everywhere in our everyday environment. It is our local landscape where we as individuals are directly confronted with these problems – and able to react.
  • Our project team has been in contact with various local communities and prepared an environment for discussion and creative imagination for you. Our working title for this is Community Innovation Lab.
  • Your university contact person will organize a first workshop with these communities within the first two weeks of the seminar. During this workshop, you will reflect on your local context and its specific challenges together with your local community. On that basis, you will form local teams.
  • The challenge identified in and with your local community will be a criterion for putting international teams together. We intend to group students from different countries and disciplines around similar challenges.
  • With your local team, you will analyze the system context of the local challenge. What are important cause-effect relationships? Who are the actors? Who is disadvantaged? What are the wider consequences? (See further guiding questions in the section ‘Challenge Mapping’)
  • With your international team, you will reflect on the differences and similarities observed in the different countries.
  • Visualise your findings with concept maps or other visual tools

Submission format and presentation

Local group work:

  • Your local team attends the first workshop in the respective local Community Innovation Lab, facilitated by your university contact person
  • In addition to talking to stakeholders, your team will conduct additional research on the problems you have identified
  • Help your community visualizing the system context of their local challenge

International group work

  • Along with the seminar process, you will get in touch with students from the other ERASMUS partner universities for an intercultural and international reflection of your local challenges
  • We will form these groups based on the proximity of challenges, further criteria are the international and interdisciplinary composition of the groups
  • Based on your work in the local teams you will discuss your findings with students from other places. Together, you will reflect about differences and similarities of the challenge and its system context.
  • Prepare your team presentation based on this template and send it to your tutors before Tuesday, April 2, 12 am
  • Please make sure that all visual materials on your slides are either your own or public domain. Do not take pictures from somewhere on the web, these are usually owned by others, unless they are declared creative commons.
  • Group presentation: 2nd of April 2019, 16 00 - 17 30 CET
  • upload your presentation slides to your group wiki page after the presentation

Challenge Mapping

According to the framework of the Impact Gaps Canvas developed by Daniela Papi-Thornton you may use the following guiding question for mapping local challenges:

How do you describe the challenge?

  • How do those most impacted describe the challenge?
  • How do they describe the effects?
  • How is this challenge related to other challenges?

What is the impact of the challenge?

  • What are the numbers?
  • Who or what is impacted (where, how many, in what way?)
  • What does the most up to date research say?

What is the cause of the challenge?

  • What is causing the challenge to persist?

+ Who stands to benefit from the challenge continuing to persist?

What is the history and the future of the challenge?

  • How has the challenge changed over time?
  • What is the projected scope of the challenge in the future?


  • Use empathy maps to gain understanding about your target group
  • For the further analysis of cause effect relationships we recommend concept mapping software like Cmap Tools

Evaluation criteria

  • Timely submission of required documents
  • Depth and logic of analysis (i.e. integrating multiple viewpoints and value schemes)
  • Visual quality of representation (readability, clarity, creative expression)
  • Quality of oral presentation (i.e. keeping time limits, clarity, expression)