Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

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.

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Turning Thinking Talk to Action Walk (and a Trip to the Moon)

by • April 16th, 2012

We got the moon and back three times in the span of ten years from the call to action from President Kennedy. An entire country rallied around a very simple and challenging task of putting humans on the moon.

Could the time be now for us to do the same with social innovation for health?

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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.

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Knowledge Hypocrites: Take Two!

by • February 4th, 2012

Knowledge Hypocrites: Take Two!. The link above points to a great post by KMBeing that deserves some re-blogging here. It looks at the issue of hypocrisy in espousing the values of taking knowledge and putting it into practice, without practicing it. It’s worth a read. There are a lot of professions and practices where we […]

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Common Sense, Complexity and Leadership

by • January 23rd, 2012

By recognizing that common sense is less than common and is certainly not consistent, program designers, developers, evaluators and other professionals will be better positioned to provide true leadership that addresses challenges and complexity rather than adds to the complexity and creates more problems.

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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.

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Merry Christmas 2011

by • December 24th, 2011

As we begin to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to the holidays that greet the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I am writing to wish all my visitors and reader the warmest wishes for health, happiness, creativity, joy and love in these times.┬á Christmas has been a special […]

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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.

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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.

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What is Developmental Evaluation?

by • November 19th, 2011

Developmental evaluation (DE) is a problematic concept because it deals with a complex set of conditions and potential outcomes that differ from and challenge the orthodoxy in much of mainstream research and evaluation and makes it difficult to communicate. At a recent gathering of DE practitioners in Toronto, we were charged with coming up with […]

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