Can we help the next generation of policy makers, business leaders and citizens to become creative, critical and independent thinkers? Can we make them aware of the nature of the problems they will be confronted with? Can we strengthen their capacity to foster and lead stakeholder processes to address these problems?
How can you improve your thinking – alone or in a group? How can mapping ideas help you understand the relationships among them? How can mapping a conversation create a new reality for those involved?
In what follows, I draw on the work of Daniel Kahneman’s (2011) best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, which explains how human thinking occurs at different speeds, from the very fast thinking associated with face-to-face conversation to the very slow thinking associated with assembling information resources into encyclopedias. I use those ideas in my descriptions of knowledge maps.
Community member post by Richard Taylor and John Forrester
Policy problems are complex and – while sometimes simple solutions can work – complexity tools and complexity thinking have a major part to play in planning effective policy responses. What is ‘complexity’ and what does ‘complexity science’ do? How can agent-based modelling help address the complexity of environment and development policy issues?
At the most obvious level, one can take complexity to mean all systems that are not simple, by which we mean that they can be influenced but not controlled. Complexity can be examined through complexity science and complex system models. Continue reading →
Community member post by Sven Ove Hansson and Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn
Scientific uncertainty creates problems in many fields of public policy. Often, it is not possible to satisfy the high demands on the information input for standard methods of policy analysis such as risk analysis or cost-benefit analysis. For instance, this seems to be the case for long-term projections of regional trends in extreme weather and their impacts.
However, we cannot wait until science knows the probabilities and expected values for each of the policy options. Decision-makers often have good reason to act although such information is missing. Uncertainty does not diminish the need for policy advice to help them determine which option it would be best to go for.
When traditional methods are insufficient or inapplicable, argument-based tools for decision analysis can be applied. Such tools have been developed in philosophy and argumentation theory. They provide decision support on a systematic methodological basis. Continue reading →
Outcome measures in research about treatment and service provision may not seem a particularly controversial or even exciting domain for citizen involvement. Although the research landscape is changing – partly as a result of engaging stakeholders in knowledge production and its effects – the design of outcome measures has been largely immune to these developments.
The standard way of constructing such measures – for evaluating treatment outcomes and services – has serious flaws and requires an alternative that grounds them firmly in the experiences and situations of the people whose views are being solicited. Continue reading →
How can we design new services or strategies when the participation of marginalized stakeholders is vital to ethicality? How can we liberate people’s creativity so we can move from incremental improvements to more fundamental change?
To answer these questions, I have brought together insights from Russ Ackoff and Werner Ulrich to develop a new method that I call Critical Back-Casting.
Russ Ackoff, writing in the 1980s, is critical of organizations that focus on incremental improvements without ever asking whether they are doing the right thing in the first place. Thus, they are at risk of continually ‘improving’ the wrong thing, when they would be better off going for a more radical redesign. Ackoff makes two far-reaching prescriptions to tackle this problem. Continue reading →