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Inquiry is a key adaptive capacity. When answers are few, questions are your wisest path forward. But, not all questions are created equal. We have found six questions that help you see, understand, and prepare to influence patterns in chaos.
Your most challenging and interesting problems have never been solved before. They are “wicked” problems because they cannot be solved at all. These problems are the special territory of human systems dynamics. Our models and methods work well on tame issues, but they also help with the most wicked ones. HSD was created to help you see, understand, and influence problems that are impossible to solve. Magic 21 holds the key to seeing, understanding, and influencing intractable issues.
Some people have a gift for seeing patterns in chaos. They make great artists and politicians and parents of two-year-olds. Pattern spotting does not come naturally to others, they look at a mess, and see only the mess. In HSD, we depend on being able to see deep simplicity that hides under the surface of chaos, so seeing patterns is a core competency for HSD practitioners. This guide will show you how.
Successful collaborations are coherent. They share foundations while they celebrate autonomy. This tension of individual and shared identity can be challenging to balance. It is easy to advise groups to focus on common ground, think about sustainability, consider collective impact. But, anyone who has tried it can tell you these are not easy things to do.
Reliability used to be the major measure of success, so we learned to replicate and increase quality by reducing variation. People and processes were rewarded for doing the same thing the same way, just faster. That strength has turned into a dangerous weakness for organizations today.
Adaptive Action is as powerful as it is simple. Three questions help you make progress on intractable issues.
Collaborate to Create Community
Teams have the potential to accomplish much more than any one individual. The start up of a team can be full of energy as team members sort out individual expectations and form a direction that is for the benefit of all. Over time, however, every team encounters challenges. These challenges can either help the team focus and work together, or they can threaten the working relationships that support the work of the team.
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