Complex problems, whether organisational, societal or global, often appear not only difficult but intractable, and seem not to have an effective solution. The main reason is that the approach used is often inappropriate.
Complex problems have many aspects and multiple interacting causalities, yet we often focus on a few or even a single cause. We also insist on finding a ‘solution’ when such a solution would only be applicable within a certain set of circumstances and may no longer be relevant when those circumstances change.
Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly has worked with the sciences of complexity for over 20 years to address practical problems in both the private and public sectors. She has worked with the UN, the European Commission, advised five government administrations and many organisations. In the process she has developed the EMK Complexity Methodology to address these problems.
This two-week course is for academics, business-people, policy-makers, overseas development professionals or anyone looking to effectively address complex problems in their work or lives.
This week will introduce participants to some key concepts in complexity science that underpin the EMK Complexity Methodology. Participants will be trained on how to conduct in-depth interviews in small groups and how to analyse the findings individually before experiencing a group analysis process the following week. The key feature of the approach is to identify the ‘critical co-evolving clusters’ in the problem space, i.e. those issues which are not only closely linked, but which influence each other and change the behaviour of the interacting entities. Using those clusters the participants will be shown how to help set up ‘enabling environments’ that address the critical clusters sustainably. Participants will conduct a series of interviews to enable them to use real data for the analysis and this will significantly increase the benefit they will derive from the course.
Working on a common theme (e.g. leadership or sustainability) all participants will be taken through a group analysis process to (a) identify the multiple dimensions (social, cultural, political, economic, technical, physical, etc.) in the problem space; (b) identify the critical co-evolving clusters; (c) prepare for the enabling environment by addressing key critical co-evolving clusters at multiple scales (individual, group, organisational); (d) prepare and present findings and recommendations at a Reflect Back Workshop to be presented to the interviewees and others. The Group Analysis and the setting up of the Enabling Environment will be the main feature of Week 2.
|Location||Schumacher College, Devon, UK|
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