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Department of Planning

PhD defence by Ivar Harry Butler

The processes of creating solutions in the context of uncertainty


14.08.2017 kl. 12.00 - 15.00


Companies are increasingly viewed as instrumental in the sustainable development of developing countries (e.g. Uganda). The thesis is seated within an initiative (access2innovation) investigating how cross-sector partnerships may contribute to this.

The thesis investigates the processes of companies and what they go through when trying to create solutions in contexts of uncertainty (Sub Saharan Africa). Three different companies have been investigated over time, by using sense making and processes of enrolment to learn what they do both when they fail and succeed. The findings reveal that companies partake in complex activities that are both directly and indirectly linked to the business at hand. The companies that succeed tend to add and subtract actors (human and non-human) over time. And the sense making processes tend toward blankness and verb based actors. Two actors are found important: the one actor who is able to restrict the processes and the actor who funds the processes. Both are important, and both should be able to move as experiments evolve over time.

The findings may contribute to improving practices of assisting companies towards difficult markets, as well as research and policy into solving complex social problems.

Please email butler@plan.aau.dk to get a copy of the thesis.

assessment committee

Associate Professor Dr. Ronika Chakrabarti| Lancaster University Management School

Associate Professor Dr. Søren Jeppesen | Copenhagen Business School

Professor Dr. Ir. Johan C. Brezet (Chairman) | Aalborg University, Denmark


Associate Professor Martin Lehmann | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
Associate Professor Søren Kerndrup | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


After the defence the deparment will host a reception. Therefore please report your participation to forskningssupport@plan.aau.dk not later than 7 August 2017.


Free of charge


Department of Planning


Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, room 2/3.329

Registration Deadline

07.08.2017 kl. 12.00

Register at