expert days & evening talks

The list of experts will be completed
within the next weeks!



Prof. Dr. Johannes Weyer (Technische Universität Dortmund)

New Modes of Governance of Complex Systems in the Era of Autonomous Technology

Contribution to Summer School „Swarms, Societies, and Sustainability“ Wuppertal-Institut, Köln, August 30, 2010

New technology allows for new modes of governance, which go beyond traditional modes of decentralized self-regulation (“market”) or centralized control (“hierarchy”). This applies especially for large-scale, networked, highly automated infrastructure systems. At first sight the current trend is decentralization:

· In the electricity system the user increasingly becomes a producer of – mostly renewable – energy;

· In air transportation the pilot takes over functions of separation and coordination, which formerly have been performed by the controller;

· Services in electronic networks such as Wikipedia heavily rely on the wisdom of the crowds.

However a paradox emerges (cf. Surowiecki 2005), since even decentralized systems face the need of coordination, especially if high reliability is at stake. Systems of that kind cannot simply rely on the mechanism of self-organization and wait for emergent effects to occur. New modes of governance which combine the problem-solving capability of local coordination with the needs of global stability in the overall system have to be found.

Smart, autonomous technology plays a dual role, since it improves the ability of the systems’ components to make their decisions independently and to coordinate at a local level, thus fostering decentralization. However, smart technology also allows for a real-time networking of all components of a large-scale system, thus fostering a trend towards recentralization (cf. Rochlin 1998, Carr 2009). In this contested area new, discursive approaches emerge to solve the problem of coordination at a level of intersystem communication. Nevertheless it is an open question, which new mode(s) of governance will finally succeed and provide the pattern of governing the network society.

Since it is almost impossible to solve the debate on “smart governance” (cf. Willke 2007) on a theoretical level, the paper will first present case studies from selected fields (energy, air transportation, information technology), where practise is far ahead of theory. In a second step it will show by computer simulation the assets and drawbacks of different modes of governance of complex systems. It will finally take an outlook on questions of regime change and transition management, since the emergence of new modes of governance is mostly accompanied by a regime change.


Johannes Weyer

Prof. Dr. Johannes WeyerTechnische Universität Dortmund, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Technology Studies



Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind

Swarms and Sustainable Transition Management – the ambivalence of swarm conduct for sustainability strategies

Contribution to Summer School „Swarms, Societies, and Sustainability“ Wuppertal-Institut, Köln, August 30, 2010

Sustainable transition management (Loorbach 2007, Grin u.a. 2010) defines possible pathways to sustainable futures. It explains how niche experiments can be scaled up and lead to comprehensive regime shifts and system innovations: How to make an ecological entrepreneur a start for greening a whole industry? How to spread ecologically sound consumer patterns? These are questions of transition management research.

The relevance of swarms in this context is ambivalent: swarm conduct can be a motor for upscaling niches, but it can also considerably block the diffusion of sustainable solutions. To analyse the effect of swarms it is useful to differentiate “swarms of individuals” and “swarms of organisations”. On both levels swarm conduct can be found.

The presentation will illustrate the positive and the negative power of swarms in the context of sustainable system innovations – on an individual level (taking the examples: change of power providers, change to sustainable lifestyles) and on an organisational level (university swarms, business swarms). It will define management rules for the design and use of swarms in sustainability strategies.

Uwe Schneidewind

Prof. Dr. Uwe SchneidewindWuppertal Institute and Schumpeter School/University of Wuppertal, Chair for Sustainable Transition Management


Prof. Dr. Jens Krause & Prof. Dr. Stefan Krause

Collective behaviour and swarm intelligence

Many group-living species exhibit complex and coordinated patterns from the motion of locust swarms and fish schools to bird flocks, ungulate herds and human crowds. In this interdisciplinary talk we will present models of animal grouping behaviour and test model predictions using fish schools and human crowds. In the second part of our talk we will explain how animal groups can use swarm intelligence to solve cognitive problems and how insights from swarm intelligence research can be utilised in the human domain in areas such as company management, prediction of elections, product development and the entertainment industry.

Jens Krause
Stefan Krause

Prof. Dr. Jens KrauseLeibniz-Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department of Fish Biology and Ecology


Prof. Dr. Stefan Krause Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Applied Sciences Lübeck




Milica Reinhart & Marjan Verkerk

A short message about the art project: »Longing for Level 2-Art project for a bridge«

Many Since July 2008 Milica Reinhart (Croatia/Germany) and Marjan Verkerk (The Netherlands) have been painting their designs on a traffic bridge of 450 meters in length in the centre of Hagen, Germany. The designs for these paintings were based on interviews with 42 women from various nationalities living near and next to the bridge the two painters had in 2006. The women were asked about colours related to their memories. These women also wrote down the word 'bridge' in their native language and their handwriting was translated into neon lettering which are now attached to the bridge as well. The work finished at the end of December 2008. 

The project has been proclaimed "Leuchtturmprojekt Ruhr-2010" (Lighthouseproject Ruhr 2010) by the Ruhrgebiet European Cultural Capital 2010-organisation and is recognised by UNESCO-Germany.

The two artists initiated the project themselves. And fought for it: the project caused quite a stir: a flood of articles and letters in the local newspapers by both passionate supporters and opponants proceeded an in the end positive decision by the local city council. In cooperation with Tina Jerman-Exile Kulturkoordination, the artists succeeded in generating important sponsoring by companies and private sponsorship as well as through  various other ways of support by the local population.

project website | pictures of the project

Milica Reinhart & Marjan Verkerk

Milica Reinhart and Marjan Verkerk, are an artists-duo since 2000. In 2002 they initiated and contributed in "Visible Visions", an Artproject in the context of the Worldsummit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Artworks were created by a group of 10 artists from South-Africa, Europe and Brasil, based on interviews with South-African women and the photographs made by them.  


Prof. Peter Wippermann

Impulse speech

Peter Wippermann

Prof. Peter WippermannTrendbüro and Folkwang University,

Founder of Trendbüro - Beratungsunternehmen für gesellschaftlichen Wandel GmbH, Professor for communication design at Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Advisory board member of hamburgunddesign, designxport and Nestlé Zukunftsforum.


_Society and consumption trends
_Qualities and its changes in the society
_Tremble of age
_Health Style
_Future of Media
_Economy of Networking
_Cluster Intelligence
_Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants