Change-making is the process of transformation and not to be confused with the transformed outcome that results from such a process. We confuse the two at our peril. “We are changing the world” is a rallying cry from many individuals and organizations working in social innovation and entrepreneurship which is both a truth and untruth at the […]
Developmental evaluation is focused on real-time decision making for programs operating in complex, changing conditions, which can tax the attentional capacity of program staff and evaluators. Organizational mindfulness is a means of paying attention to what matters and building the capacity across the organization to better filter signals from noise. Mindfulness is a means of […]
When does common sense make little sense? How do we sense-make evidence when it seems to make little sense? The answers could lie in getting inside the heads of those we seek to influence and designing our communications for empathy and health. Evidence in public / health Last week there was a brief uproar in […]
A brilliant and comprehensive new book has been launched that brings together the best scholars working in the area of systems thinking and complexity and applying it to health. The book description can be found here along with a link to the abstract for a chapter I co-authored with Andrea Yip looking at the overlap […]
Posted on July 6, 2012
Complexity, by its very nature, is not a simple concept to communicate, yet it is increasingly becoming one that will define our times and may be the key to ensuring human survival and wellbeing in the years to come. If society is to respond to complex challenges the meaning of complexity needs to be communicated […]
Systems thinking, design thinking, developmental evaluation, creativity, networks and innovation: these are the keywords for health in the coming years. They are as author Eric Topol calls the dawning of the creative destruction of medicine. The public is already using social media for health and now the time has come for health (care, promotion and protection) systems to get on board and make the changes necessary to join them.
If we are to expect that the fields most connected to social action and the promotion of wellbeing are to contribute to our betterment in the future, they need to change. Disruptive design for programs, services and the ways we fund such things is what is necessary if these fields are to have benefit beyond themselves. Long past are the days when doing good was something that belonged to those with a title (e.g., doctor, health promoter, social worker) or that what we called ourselves (e.g., teacher) meant we did something else unequivocally (e.g., educate). Now we are all teachers, all health promoters, all designers, and all entrepreneurs if we want to be. Some will be better than others and some will be more effective than others, but by disrupting these ideas we can design a better future.
Both developmental design and evaluation work together to provide data required to allow program planners to constantly adapt their offerings to meet changing conditions, thus avoiding the problem of having outcomes becoming decoupled from program activities and working with complexity rather than against it. For example, developmental evaluation can determine what are the key attractors shaping program activities while developmental design can work with those attractors to amplify them or dampen them depending on the level of beneficial coherence they offer a program. In two joined processes we can acknowledge complexity while creating more realistic and responsive plans.
Posted on December 24, 2011
As we begin to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to the holidays that greet the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I am writing to wish all my visitors and reader the warmest wishes for health, happiness, creativity, joy and love in these times. Christmas has been a special […]
Posted on July 14, 2011
The Design4Health conference is on this week bringing together designers from different fields together with health policy, practice and research professionals. While the focus is on the relationship between design and health, it is also inspiring thoughts of how health itself is designed. This week the first Design4Health conference is being held in Sheffield, UK. […]