Understanding Complex Problems
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/
- 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?
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.
David Snowden. Cynefin Framework Introduction. http://cognitive-edge.com/videos/cynefin-framework-introduction/