Messy challenges? They’re everywhere.
Feeling overwhelmed by a challenge? Try conversation, the most powerful problem-solving technology we have. Conversation can move people from ideation to experimentation and learning to solution. What’s more, there’s a structure to these types of productive conversations that can be defined and practiced.
The article linked here from Fast Company describes a big challenge that was addressed in a powerfully elegant way by a collection of people from around the world. The group came together virtually to converse and design a way to tackle the challenge—in this case, creating an almanac about climate change.
As the article describes, 300 volunteers from 41 countries rallied around a clear purpose and practiced frequent and positive communication, which created the trust that allowed them to tap into the huge range of knowledge and skill within the group. This process created new learning and produced a published almanac—which itself will be a tool to foster more needed conversations about climate change.
The excitement of the project was contagious to me as I read the article. It was a refreshing change of pace to see the way this global network of, often, strangers came to work together so effectively.
I was struck, too, by the realization that this project is an example of Strategic Doing in its most organic form.
Strategic Doing is a methodology for using strategic thinking, planning, and action within innovating networks to tackle messy challenges. The foundational value of the approach is trust, since solving complex problems requires that people have deep, focused conversations, which cannot take place without trust. It is also an iterative approach, focusing on taking incremental actions to create new learning and work toward transformational change. This iterative nature of the methodology is reflective of another core value of Strategic Doing: action.
This is why I love helping people learn about and implement Strategic Doing. It helps people move from feeling overwhelmed by the complex challenges we face to feeling energized and optimistic about tackling them.
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