Oops! Solving global problems in complex systems « Sustainable Development in Government


Personally, I feel that “Oops SORRY!” is the very least we should expect from financial and political “leaders” whose lust for power and wealth has seen unstinting support for the “economic domain” and blinded them to the impact upon other, interdependent, domains.

Over the past 40 years our collective problem-solving didn’t actually solve the problems. Albert Einstein’s classic warning applies; how to be sure that we aren’t still trying to solve today’s problems with the same kinds of thinking which causes them? Adam Smith also warned, “When we are in the middle of a paradigm, it is hard to imagine any other paradigm.” With the benefit of 40 years experience since Stockholm we can add, “When we are in the middle of a gradual international problem-solving process, it is hard to imagine other paradigms.”

How to rapidly imagine, design and implement other paradigms? A starting point for this large challenge could be the smallest possible response, to say “Oops!”.  “Oops!” may not sound like much but this acknowledgement of society’s collective failures could be powerful in shifting the dialogue and creating space for new thinking. As an acronym, OOPS! could provide the international community with an informal ‘Out Of Paradigm Space’ to discuss options that haven’t been considered simply because they didn’t fit in the prevailing shared mental models or institutional architectures. OOPS! would ask, “what are we missing here?”…

via Oops! Solving global problems in complex systems « Sustainable Development in Government.

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