Some challenges are Clocks and others are Clouds. If they are Clocks, they are complicated.
But the interconnected parts can be understood and their actions predicted. Clock problems are solvable by logic and deduction.
They are diffuse and complex and do not yield to logic and deduction. Many of today’s problems are Clouds.
They are complex because they’re made up of myriad interconnected parts. These interdependent relationships are difficult to grasp – like the weather, an eco-system, or a human organisation.
Complex problems, when they involve people, are adaptive. As people learn they change, and then what appeared to work yesterday may not work today.
Complex problems require creativity and innovation, and diverse groups are the best source of these.
As Charles Leadbeater says in We-Think: “ In reality, creativity has always been a highly collaborative, cumulative and social activity in which people with different skills, points of view and insight share and develop ideas together. At root most creativity is collaborative; it is not usually the product of a lone individual’s flash of insight.”
In researching complex systems, Scott Page found that groups made up of many people who think in different ways can… trump groups of people who are very bright but alike, as long as they are well organised.
Complex problems are more easily understood and resolved when they are looked at from many vantage points. The more people looking, the better the diversity of skills and experience. Alan Kay, an "imagineer" at Disney, said: "Perspective is worth 80 IQ points."
Complex problems require us to move beyond information and knowledge to access collective intelligence and release our innate wisdom. Wisdom has to do with intuiting the long-view through understanding systems in the context of their larger whole.
Wisdom is also to do with acting in resonance with what is known to be true and lasting. Only wisdom can guide effective decisions in how we work with challenging issues in the conditions of what Doug Engelbart calls: "complexity multiplied by urgency"
In the Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki says: “ Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people to be smart. “ Even if most of the people within the group are not especially well informed or rational, it can still reach a collectively wise decision.”
Most of the intractable challenges we face today are complex. The more people we can involve looking at the issues from a range of perspectives, the more likely we are to find wise solutions. And the people who identify the solutions are more likely to implement them.
The Wisdom Council Solving Complex Problems by evoking our Collective Intelligence A Wisdom Council is an old form of participative democracy It is a way to resolve complex challenges by looking from eight perspectives that encompass the total system and make up a sequence of wholeness.
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