1. Lack of awareness of mutual competencies

Due to a lack of awareness and experience of other Project partner´s competencies, the potential of collaboration, such as the diversity of perspectives and expansion of the knowledge base, are not sufficiently exploited. As practice shows, transparency of all existing competencies is crucial for successful collaboration from the very beginning.

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The following tool called competence sun, serves to address and overcome the lack of awareness of mutual competences.

2. Differences in vision

A shared vision faces the challenge of incorporating and reconciling the very diverse interests and ideas of the project partners. This requires a critical reflection along the collaborative process beyond the initial definition of the shared vision.

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The following tool called Appreciative Inquiry serves to address and overcome different visions.

3. Different institutional structures, logics and norms

Knowledge and technology transfer still experiences a lack of acceptance and application in the scientific sphere, partly triggered by resource bottlenecks, but also by a lack of institutional recognition. Socio-cultural aspects or aspects of corporate culture such as different time orientation, motivation, individual working methods, market orientation or entrenched or bureaucratic handling also make cooperation difficult. The challenge is to jointly find potential overlaps.

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The following tools called World Café and 6 Hats serve to address and overcome different institutional structures, logics, and norms.

4. Lack of needs orientation

Scientific approaches to solutions must meet the needs of society. For this, an understanding of the cultural and socio-economic diversity of society is essential and the approach should be constantly reflected. An early dialogue must reveal the needs of all because science also makes demands on the way of proceeding and answering the question.

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The following tools called Lean Canvas, Roleplay, Persona and Prototyping serve to address and overcome the lack of needs orientation.

5. Unclear roles and responsibilities

A lack of definition of role assignments, role asymmetries as well as unclear responsibilities and an unequal distribution of power make collaboration difficult. Roles and responsibilities can change during the course of the project, which should definitely be taken into account, with project management being a success-critical factor here.

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The following tools called Expectation Matrix, Stakeholder Salience, Ego Network and Network Modeartion serve to address and overcome unclear roles and responsibilities.

6. Spatial and social distance

In transdisciplinary collaborations, the catchment area of the actors involved is usually very large and the spatial distance makes collaboration difficult or prevents initialization, especially in rural regions, because a higher expenditure of resources is necessary in order to exchange information in person. Due to unexpected circumstances such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of a more complicated organization and communication also exists in collaborations with a small spatial distance, nevertheless this also shows potential for overcoming problems of spatial distance through digital collaboration.

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The following digital tools serve to address and overcome the spatial and social distance.

7. Differences in the methodological approach

The methodological approach must neither neglect the scientific requirements nor the suitability for society. It must remain attractive and comprehensible for societal stakeholders and at the same time be methodologically stringent, since society-based research must always face questions regarding validity, credibility and objectivity.

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The following tools called Usability Test and Smart PICO serve to address and overcome differences in methodological approach.

8. Different technical languages

The different technical languages in the different sectors, but also in the different (scientific) disciplines, can quickly lead to misunderstandings and problems in communication. Furthermore, the translation of the results for people without an academic background is often neglected. To avoid this, one should deal with the technical languages of the other sectors and disciplines and also with that of the target group.

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The following tool called 6-3-5 brainwriting serves to address different technical languages.

9. Lack of trust

The diversity of the actors in a transdisciplinary cooperation makes it difficult to build mutual trust, as do hierarchical relationships, insufficient personal contact, lack of unity and harmony, and changing personalities. However, since trust is one of the main factors of successful cooperation, sufficient time should be invested here and the acquired trust should be cultivated.

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The following tool called Treasure Hunting serves to address and overcome the lack of trust.

10. Declining cooperative engagement

Declining cooperative engagement is expressed through decreases in the sense of mutual commitment and support, as well as reduced information sharing. Balancing demands on stakeholders with attention to stakeholders' priorities is critical to sustaining engagement. Appreciation and understanding can help to sustain engagement over the long term.

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The following tools called Nudging and River of Life serve to address and overcome declining cooperative engagement.

11. High complexity of outcome measurement

Outcome measurement is highly complex because meaningful indicators are very difficult to develop and evaluation models are not standardized. In addition, research results do not always achieve a direct effect, but often demonstrate their relevance indirectly and with a time lag. Nevertheless, it is important to make the results measurable in order to demonstrate the relevance and legitimacy of such projects and to take into account the perspective of all actors involved.

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The following tool called UTAUT model serves to address and overcome high complexity of outcome measurement.

12. Lack of permanence and sustainability of project results

The commitment of those involved usually ends with the measurement of results, but a long-term impact beyond the project is often not ensured. Strategy development is needed during the project period to enable a long-term impact, e.g. through follow-up projects or responsible persons from society.

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The following tool called ambassador concept serves to address and overcome lack of permanence and sustainability of the project results.

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