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Thinking systemically about systems thinking

Systems thinking is a class of theories, models and methods for understanding human and non-human interactions as seen as wholes instead of parts. This focus on interconnections and relationships is precisely what makes it challenging for many when it comes to systemically considering what systems thinking is all about and the implications of this are […]

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Acting on Failure or Failure to Act?

Who would have thought that failure would be held up as something to be desired just a few years ago? Yet, it is one thing to extol the virtues of failure in words, it is quite another to create systems that support failure in action and if the latter doesn’t follow the former, failure will […]

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Asking Better and More Beautiful Questions

Beautiful answers require beautiful (and better) questions and Warren Berger’s new book looks at this very phenomenon of inquiry and asks: What does it mean to ask better questions and what does that mean for the answers we seek and receive?   Warren Berger recently published  A More Beautiful Question, a book looking at something we […]

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What’s the big idea and how are you going to make it real?

Concepts like design thinking and developmental evaluation are best used when they help ask big questions before seeking answers. How we frame the problem is much more important than the solution we generate, but that way of thinking means going into an area that is much talked about and rarely delivered on: strategy. Many companies […]

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Developmental Design and The Innovator’s Mindset

Blackberry, once the ‘must have’ device is no longer so and may no longer even exist. Looking back on how the mighty device maker stumbled the failure is attributed to what was done and not done, but I would argue it is more about what was unseen and not thought. Ignorance of the past, present […]

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Evaluating Health Promotion Social Media Strategies for Public Health Impact

I recently spoke at an interactive workshop presentation at the 2013 Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC) looking at social media use in public health and the strategies available for evaluating those strategies in practice. The talk was focused on the tools, methods and approaches and the inherent challenges in dealing with a dynamic social communication […]

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The Wicked Problem of Wicked Problems

At issue is that wicked problems are made more so by having both complex and non-complex elements working together, requiring a level of strategy development that is far more sophisticated than many first thought. Even a review of the better management texts using complexity give short shrift to the relationship between the complex, the simple and the complicated working simultaneously in environments and how we plan for that.

Until we recognize this complexity — no pun intended — in the way we plan, there is great risk of replicating the hype cycle when our sole use complexity-based models yield poor results of a different nature than the poor results we are seeing from traditional linear, reductionist thinking models applied to many of the problems we deem as wicked today.

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Common Sense, Complexity and Leadership

By recognizing that common sense is less than common and is certainly not consistent, program designers, developers, evaluators and other professionals will be better positioned to provide true leadership that addresses challenges and complexity rather than adds to the complexity and creates more problems.

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43 Steps to a Well-Prepared Design Strategist (via the design strategist)

I stumbled upon this list of “to-dos” and related resources aimed at preparing someone to serve as a design strategist. What I like about the post is the list of resources linked and embedded within. It’s not designed (no pun intended) to be prescriptive, but as a series of things to ponder as one moves […]

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Complexity, Interaction Design and Social Media

Social media, like all human activities, involves designed interactions in a complex environment. How we design for this space is as much about the social as it is the media.

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