crowd wisdom needs a new paradigm:: five characteristics of Paradigms

Uncertainty is apparent in every domain…because the realisation, that is gradually seeping into our consciousness, is that much of what we thought we knew…WE DON’T!

Clinging to “the past”, in the form of something that appears “familiar” or that has previously delivered a satisfactory outcome MAY feel like the right thing to do. But, if relying upon homogeneity is the preferred course isn’t that the equivalent of avoiding critical decisions and, merely, adding to uncertainty!?

… paradigms have five important characteristics and implications:

First, in periods of uncertainty, we search for a suitable paradigm that will satisfactorily mitigate the uncertainty (i.e., provide some certainty) and latch onto that paradigm as soon as it is discovered.

Second, because uncertainty leads to unpredictability, we are driven to locate a paradigm that can solve the problem.

Third, precedents or past actions or beliefs focus our attention toward certain solutions, which means we neglect perfectly acceptable paradigms. In organizations, one readily available source of information is to observe how others have dealt with the same issue.

Fourth, when we are uncertain, we imitate others as long as we find ourselves in a homogenous group or believe the other individual has an adequate paradigm to adopt.

Fifth, as long as the chosen paradigm is logically optimal, we continue pursuing a course of action that might be seriously flawed. Why would we pick a solution or course of action that was not the best? Human nature requires us to make some decision when faced with uncertainty. Therefore, an answer that allows us to take some action appears more desirable than inaction.

Underlying our choice of paradigm is our need to make a decision to allow us to continue to function.


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.