Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Wet and Dry Design for Social Innovation

by • May 28th, 2012

Create systems that are too bounded (dry) and we risk sucking the moisture from the human elements (the wet) that make real social innovation happen. Our challenge is finding the right balance between the controlled, stable environments that these new technologies afford and the self-organized, emergent and innovative environments needed to implement and scale our initiatives more effectively.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Innovation, Design Thinking and the Folly of Fads

by • May 24th, 2012

Is it time to move on or shall we try to invigorate the discussion of concepts like innovation and design thinking with dialogue, evidence and (self-referentially) some innovation and design thinking to advance not only the discourse on these topics, but also their adoption, study and adaptation to help us tackle the complex, wicked and pervasive problems that seem to be growing in our world each day.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Social Media and Health: Leaders(hip) and Followers(hip)

by • May 18th, 2012

Systems thinking, design thinking, developmental evaluation, creativity, networks and innovation: these are the keywords for health in the coming years. They are as author Eric Topol calls the dawning of the creative destruction of medicine. The public is already using social media for health and now the time has come for health (care, promotion and protection) systems to get on board and make the changes necessary to join them.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Disruption by Design

by • March 13th, 2012

If we are to expect that the fields most connected to social action and the promotion of wellbeing are to contribute to our betterment in the future, they need to change. Disruptive design for programs, services and the ways we fund such things is what is necessary if these fields are to have benefit beyond themselves. Long past are the days when doing good was something that belonged to those with a title (e.g., doctor, health promoter, social worker) or that what we called ourselves (e.g., teacher) meant we did something else unequivocally (e.g., educate). Now we are all teachers, all health promoters, all designers, and all entrepreneurs if we want to be. Some will be better than others and some will be more effective than others, but by disrupting these ideas we can design a better future.

Read More

Leave a Comment

The Wicked Problem of Wicked Problems

by • February 13th, 2012

At issue is that wicked problems are made more so by having both complex and non-complex elements working together, requiring a level of strategy development that is far more sophisticated than many first thought. Even a review of the better management texts using complexity give short shrift to the relationship between the complex, the simple and the complicated working simultaneously in environments and how we plan for that.

Until we recognize this complexity — no pun intended — in the way we plan, there is great risk of replicating the hype cycle when our sole use complexity-based models yield poor results of a different nature than the poor results we are seeing from traditional linear, reductionist thinking models applied to many of the problems we deem as wicked today.

Read More

Leave a Comment

The PR Problem for Design, Evaluation,and Complexity

by • January 30th, 2012

The same might be true of design, evaluation and complexity if we let it. It’s not a surprise that these three concepts are intimately tied together, as those training to apply design thinking and strategic foresight learn. Perhaps its time to start giving these ideas away, but to do so we first need to rehab their image and apply some design thinking and brand development strategy to all three ideas. As practitioners in any or all of these fields, giving away what we do by educating, reinforcing, and ensuring that the work we do is of the highest quality is a way to lead by example. None of us is likely to change things by ourselves, but together we can do wonders.

Read More

Leave a Comment

The Complexity of Planning and Design in Social Innovation

by • January 7th, 2012

Both developmental design and evaluation work together to provide data required to allow program planners to constantly adapt their offerings to meet changing conditions, thus avoiding the problem of having outcomes becoming decoupled from program activities and working with complexity rather than against it. For example, developmental evaluation can determine what are the key attractors shaping program activities while developmental design can work with those attractors to amplify them or dampen them depending on the level of beneficial coherence they offer a program. In two joined processes we can acknowledge complexity while creating more realistic and responsive plans.

Read More

Leave a Comment

How Systems and Design Thinking Can Address Violence Against Women

by • December 6th, 2011

Today, as we remember the lives lost and damaged from the events of December 6th and the global challenge that this represents, consider taking up the challenge and perhaps together we can systems think and design our way to a healthier, more equitable world for men and women alike.

Imagine how we can create a system that makes the unthinkable truly so. As designers, envision what we could do if we engaged people in the design challenge to reimagine our sex and gender roles in a healthier image.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Women and Leadership in Times of Complexity

by • December 5th, 2011

Women are no longer satisfied (nor should they be) with the roles assigned to them by men, but are shaping and crafting new ones for themselves and reclaiming and challenging outdated, sexist ones. As societies, we will (and do) need leaders and innovators who know how to manage complexity well and design solutions and women may be the first place to look because they are doing it already.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Design Thinking and Zombies

by • November 11th, 2011

Design Thinking Foundations, is focusing on a synthesis of the literature and interviews with leading professionals from different fields within design, branding, media, and business. Our stake is less in the name design thinking, but more to determine what it is, how it is practiced, and what value it brings in an empirical and theoretically robust manner. Through research we hope to answer the question about whether design thinking is alive and well or simply the walking undead.

Read More

Leave a Comment