Thursday, October 16, 2008

[Long Range Thinking] Problems where the people involved disagree

From 'Solving Tough Problems', by Adam Kahane:

... problems are tough because they are complex, and there are three types of complexity: dynamic, generative, and social.

A problem has low social complexity if the people who are part of the problem have common assumptions, values, rationales, and objectives.

In a well-functioning team, for example, members look at things similarly, and so a boss or expert can easily propose a solution that everyone agrees with.



A problem has high social complexity if the people involved look at things very differently. South Africa in the early 1990s of had the perspectives of black versus white, left versus right, traditional versus modern - classic conditions for polarisation and stuckness.

Problems of high social complexity cannot be peacefully solved by authorities from on high; the people involved must participate in creating and implementing solutions.
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