The more that you can understand a complex problem, the more you can understand your options in tackling it.
Adapted from Zimmerman, Westley, & Quinn Patton. Getting to Maybe, 2006 as cited in Weinlick & Velji, Social Innovation Field Guide, Think Jar Collective. https://thinkjarcollective.com/tools/social-innovation-lab-field-guide/
What are 'complex problems' anyway? They are:
Difficult to address and change with every attempt to address it
Involve many stakeholders with different values and priorities
Have causes and drivers that are interdependent and filled with uncertainties
Are unique and have no precedent
Do not have definitive criteria or indications for the right solutions
We are surrounded by problems that are complex. Think of declining species or the warming of our oceans, rising housing costs, socio-economic inequality and the list goes on.
What complex problems are you working on, and how are you learning about them?
Three Perspectives to Understanding a Problem
There are three perspectives to understanding a problem; individual, institutional, and systemic.
Source: MaRS Solutions Lab
A systems perspective helps us see the complexity of a challenge, to identify who is or needs to be involved and to decide where to develop particular actions.