memes.net is a cool

memes.net is a cool combination of interactive blog & mind map structure. This could be just the ticket for eLF.

The Passing of the Age of Science.
At the height of the Age of Science we had a foolproof problem solving approach: (1) define the problem, (2) gather the data, (3) analyze the data, (4) formulate a solution, (5) implement the solution. This linear approach, upon which virtually all problem solving methods are based, was understood to work no matter how complex the problem. If your project was behind schedule or over budget, it was simply because you had not done a good enough job at one or more of these steps, e.g. you had not gathered enough data. However, recent cognitive studies have revealed that people do not actually think or learn in this linear fashion, but rather in an opportunity-driven process that more resembles an earthquake than a waterfall.

In the emerging era, you still need the rigor of the scientific approach, but that alone is not nearly rich enough for the panoply of wicked problems that face us in our organizations and as a society. The problem solving process is now primarily social, rather than individualistic. The process goal is a solution that works and can be embraced by all of the stakeholders, not “the right answer.” In this environment, a new set of tools is needed to help groups create shared understanding, shared meaning, and shared commitment. VIMS is such a tool.

Visual Issue Mapping System

Visual Issue Mapping System (VIMS) is based on three fundamental ideas:

  • Shared understanding and shared commitment are the key goals of virtually all meetings;
  • To create shared understanding you need a “container” for discussion that is as robust as your project or situation is complex;
  • Such a container includes a language for discourse structure and a shared display.

Pattern of cognitive activity of one designer -- the "jagged" line

The natural pattern of problem solving behavior may appear chaotic on the surface, but it is the chaos of an earthquake or the breaking of an ocean wave -- it reveals deeper forces and flows which have their own order and pattern. The non-linear pattern of activity that expert designers go through gives us fresh insight into what is happening when we are working on a complex and novel problem. It reveals that it is not a mark of stupidity or lack of training that we seem to "wander all over." This non-linear process is not a defect, but rather the mark of an intelligent and creative learning process.


Posted by Jay Cross at July 20, 2001 08:16 AM | TrackBack
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