To know where you are vs. where you’re not - a method for navigation in high tempo

The importance of knowing where you are vs. where you are not is one of the central aspects in a new licentiate thesis written by Fredrik Forsman, PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology, who successfully presented his thesis 21 May.

Photo: Fredrik Forsman & Henrik Trygg

In his thesis, focus is on success factors rather than problems and by doing so, four phases and five factors are identified and forms the methodology called DYNAV (dynamic navigation).

- The four phases include the planning, communicating, executing and controlling. Common ground in joint activity is part of the methodology since it explains how people work together. One cannot do one thing alone. You need to work in pairs or with technology. The second and third factors are supervision or intrinsic control and sense making. Sense making helps us to understand a situation, especially in broad terms. Epistimic actions are further important for the methodology. For instance, one paper that I rely on says that “We do things physically in order to understand things cognitively better”. The last factors, re-planning, should not be looked as failure but built into the model, said Fredrik Forsman.

During Fredrik Forsman´s licentiate seminar, industry and academia representatives participated in intense discussions concerning theoretical framework and the contributions of the research. Several identified that the methodology also could be used for larger vessels, something that Fredrik Forsman agreed on.

- The methodology aims to assist in the understanding of the situation. The methodology can also say something of navigation from a scientific point of view. It explains why it is important to do things in a certain way. For example, now we can explain the trade-offs of using one or two personal in a boat and therefore increase safety, said Fredrik Forsman.

Fredrik Forsman told the audience that five articles have been written where the results stands as a solid base for a new navigation methodology framework concerning teamwork in high tempo operations. In the methodology framework Fredrik Forsman uses several perspectives and concepts; sociotechnical perspective, complexity and the concept of “knowing where you are vs. knowing where you are not”.

- I use the sociotechnical perspective since there is always a problem when you “zoom in”. The sociotechnical perspective gets more of an overview and enables me to look at systems. The concept of complexity is also vital. When you have these systems you never know what a certain input will result in because there are so many things you do not know. It means that you have variability and uncertainty, said Fredrik Forsman.


Please contact Fredrik Forsman for more information, fredrik.forsman [at]

Text: Carolina Kihlström