Olsson leads the research stream on Resilience Science for Transformations. His current research focuses on agency and system entrepreneurship, social-ecological innovations, transformations to sustainability, and how to reverse current trends of crossing critical thresholds and tipping points in the Earth system. Olsson is a transdisciplinary researcher and has worked in the interface of natural and social sciences and humanities. He has been instrumental in developing the research fields of local ecological knowledge, adaptive co-management, and adaptive governance.
Olsson is co-leading the Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation, which is designed to strengthen the capacity of leaders and change makers in identifying targeted, innovative ways of tackling complex, linked social and environmental problems at their roots. He was the program director for the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s LEAD program on Exponential Technologies, Resilience Thinking and Entrepreneurship. The LEAD program was aimed at future leaders and change makers, and included introducing novel concepts and how they relate to sustainability and human wellbeing.