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Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
Toc evaporating cloud
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Toc evaporating cloud

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  • 1. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 1IntroductionIn order for students to learn more and do more they mustbe able to take charge of their learning, analyze conflictsand decisions, and solve their own problems. TheEvaporating Cloud provides a simple graphic structure forquestions to check the necessary conditions in anyconflict.Where do we find conflicts?• In our daily life; day-to-day, difficult, life changing• In the classroom• In student lives• In the curriculum; literature, history, government,technology, science, mathematics, etc.Conflicts are everywhere.What is the Purpose of the Cloud?The cloud provides a way for both sides of a conflict to dosomething not usually done—look at the needs of bothsides. When both sides are ready, able, and willing to lookat both sides of a conflict it turns the conflict from one sideagainst the other to both sides against the problem.Resolving conflicts is one of the most important problemsolving skills we can provide our students.Conflict and theEvaporating CloudContentsEvaporating Cloud• Purpose• Structure• Models/Examples• Evaluation
  • 2. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 2What is the structure of the cloud?The cloud is the structure ofconflict.Conflicts have a structure that can berepresented by a graphic diagram calledthe Evaporating Cloud. Let’s build it astep at a time and explain the value ofeach step and piece of the cloud.Conflicts are generally between twosides; at least most can be boiled downto a conflict between two sides. Eachside wants something they think isimportant to them. So we have a conflictbetween two “wants.” This helps us get the conflict in theopen and check to see if the wants are really what we arefighting aboutPeople do things for areason and the things theywant are thought to benecessary to fulfill theirneeds.Needs are very important topeople and everyone hastheir basic needs. Thebasic needs must be met forboth sides of a conflict.We label them D andD’ for convenience andto make it easier to talkabout them. The twoheaded arrow indicatesthat they are in conflictWe label them B and Cfor convenience andthe arrows indicate thatthe entity at the tail isnecessary in order tohave the entity at thehead.
  • 3. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 3D’ is read as D-Prime.Generally D and D’ arethought to be oppositesand unable to co-exist asin D wants something andD’ wants the same thing.Or D wants somethingand D’ doesn’t want D tohave it.Reading aloud is important as ourears are tuned to the logic of ournative language and we will catchourselves changing the wording ifit doesn’t sound right and the logicis wrong.Identifying the needs helps us understand “where the sidesare coming from.” It leads to better understanding of theconflict.People in conflict generally have a commongoal. That is, they have a large goal theyboth wish to achieve. It’s a goal they hold incommon, but they are not necessarilyseeking it for the other person. The commongoal holds the conflict together. The goalhelps the sides understand that they havesomething in common.The cloud can be read a follows: In order tohave A, I must have B. In order to have B, I must have D.And, in order to have A, the other side must have C. Inorder to have C, the other side must have D’.Five Important QuestionsIn order to fill the boxes we call entities, we ask five simplequestions:What does one side want for D?What does the other side want for D’?What does one side Need (B) that requires D?What does the other side Need (C) that requires D’?What goal (A) do both sides have in common?Answering these five questions almost completes the initialcloud. We must check the logic by reading the cloudaloud.
  • 4. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 4What do we do with the cloud when it is complete andsounds right?Remember that the objective is to resolve the conflictbetween D and D’.With simple day-to-day conflicts sometimes just writing thecloud brings one or both sides to see that they don’t reallyhave to have their want in order to meet their need and theconflict is resolved.Sometimes simple day-to-day conflicts are not so simpleand writing them doesn’t resolve anything other than bringboth sides to see the problem with “fresh eyes.”Two more QuestionsTwo additional questions can be askedbefore digging deeper into the cloud.• Does Want D block Need C?• Does Want D’ block Need B?If the responses to those questions donot lead to a resolution, you may go tothe next set of questions and dig moredeeply into the conflict.The next step is to check theassumptions being made by both sides in the conflict.Assumptions support the logic of the cloud. Every arrow issupported by one or more assumptions. Most people don’tcheck the assumptions they are making, even though weare always making them.
  • 5. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 5More QuestionsYou can check assumptions under every arrow onthe Cloud. Usually it’s enough to check assumptionsonly between BD and CD’.• Ask “why is Want D necessary to fulfill NeedB? Or complete the statement, In order tohave Need B, I must have Want D because…This exercise should generate one or moreassumptions that justify the existence of Want D.Repeat the exercise for Need C and Want D’.Check the validity of the assumptionsSometimes examining the assumptions is enough toresolve the conflict, because they are obviously notvalid.If some assumption doesn’t “hit us over the head,” wemay need to consider the validity of all of them on bothsides. If we find an assumption that is not valid, itprovides a route to changing what we want or “finding athird alternative.”If we don’t find an invalid assumption, we may need tofind one that we can make invalid and it will lead us tochanging the situation in some way.In either case we are searching for a way to break thelink between BD and CD’. If we can break one of thoselinks by finding a third alternative we will change thesituation, solve the problem, and resolve the conflict.If we are able to resolve the conflict and preserve thegoal and the needs of both sides, we will have achieved atrue WIN—WIN solution.A Win—Win preservesthe goal and the needs ofboth sides.Win—Win
  • 6. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 6The “Story Line” doesnot need to long, butshould be written toidentify the essence ofthe conflict.Day-to-day Personal ExampleDay-to-day conflicts may sometimes seem too trivial tobother with thinking about, let alone writing about them.Actually they may be some of your most importantconflicts. Small conflicts unresolved often grow into majorand even chronic conflicts that can ruin relationships anddamage productivity in a classroom, school, or business.Even if they are easily resolved they provide necessarypractice for the larger and sometimes chronic conflicts inlife.Story Line: Twelve year old son John wants a new andviolent video game called KRAG* and his mother doesn’twant him to have it. They have been arguing about it for aweek and neither is budging. The conflict is spilling overinto other parts of their lives.WantsLet’s imagine that John learned the cloud in class and thatwe are watching him use the Cloud to think through theconflict. John’s first step is to identify the wants for eachside. He writes them on a sheet of paper as in thediagram.John draws two rectangles and labels them D and D’. In Dhe writes what he wants, “Have the KRAG game. In D’ hewrites what he thinks his mother wants, “Not have theKRAG game.
  • 7. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 7NeedsNext John must identify his need that the game satisfiesand his mother’s need that makes her insist he not havethe game.His need is easy. He needs to have fun andnone of his friends have the game so he canbe the first and maybe the only one in hisgroup to have it.His mother’s need seems more obvious thanhis own. She’s always saying “It’s tooviolent, it’s too violent.” Well I know better.Video games are not violent. I can’t get hurtand I can’t hurt anyone with the game. Whydoesn’t she understand that? So he writesher need as “I not do violent things.”Common GoalA common goal, what couldthat be?John thinks awhile. “It’s beenlike a war zone at home forthe last week and I don’t likeit. I don’t think Mom likes iteither. Maybe that’s it. “Weget along together at home.”
  • 8. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 8(*KRAG is a fictitious name for a fictitious game.)Read the Cloud aloudNow John reads the cloud aloud to check the logic.His side first:“In order to get along together at home, I must have funand recognition. In order to have fun and recognition, Imust have the KRAG game.”Then Mother’s side:“In order to get along together at home, I must not doviolent things. In order to not do violent things, I must nothave the KRAG game.”John is thinkingNow what do I do with it? Mr. A (John’s History teacher)didn’t tell us what to do with it yet. He says we are going tosolve some historical problems with it.“I’ll go share it with Muutthher and see what she thinks. I’lltalk about her side first. That will catch her off guard.”John to Mother“Mom, Mr. Antion, my History teacher, has been showingus a different way to look at conflicts. I thought sincewe’ve been fighting about that video game, maybe wecould use it.”John lays the paper in front of his mother and beginsexplaining.“I know we both want to get along here at home and inorder to do that, you don’t want me doing violent things.
  • 9. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 9And in order to not do violent things, you say I shouldn’thave the KRAG game?Mother doesn’t say anything while John takes a breath.Then John plows on.“And in order for us to get along here at home, I must havefun and recognition by my friends that I’ve somethingspecial. In order for me to have fun and recognition, I musthave the KRAG video game.”Mother responds, “What do we do now, John? You seemto have stated our positions correctly.“Mom, don’t you see that I’m trying to solve this, but youkeep insisting that you can’t have me doing violent thingswhen the game isn’t violent.”“John, I respect you and appreciate your effort to solve ourdisagreement. Of course I don’t want you doing violentthings. Do you want to do violent things?”“No, but the game isn’t violent! I can’t hurt myself oranyone else by playing it.”Mother: “I know that the game itself is not violent, but youwill be practicing violent acts, and I don’t think it’s healthyto practice doing things that are violent, illegal, and couldhurt yourself and other people. So let’s change this littlebox to read: Not practice violent acts. Now what do wedo?”John: “I’m not sure. Mr. A. couldn’t finish in a class periodand he said he’d explain more tomorrow.”Mother: “I’m looking forward to hearing about it. We’retalking about the problem instead of …”John interrupts: “It’s a little better isn’t it.”
  • 10. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 10The next eveningMother: “What did you learn from your History teachertoday?”“It doesn’t matter.”“I thought he was going to finish that diagram you showedme yesterday.”“He did.”“Come on, let’s talk about it. It gave us a good descriptionof our problem. Get it out and show me what’s next. I thinkI can use it with a little conflict at work if I know more aboutit.”John slowly pulls the diagram out of his notebook and laysit on the kitchen table. “Mr. A. showed us a bunch ofquestions to ask about the diagram. He said that withsome conflicts, just writing the diagram is enough. Evenjust writing a part of the diagram is sometimes enough toresolve some conflicts, because people seldom look attheir conflicts this way. It’s like seeing something for thefirst time that you thought you knew.”“Then he pointed out that people usually resolve conflictsin just a few different ways and that we already know all ofthem. So we brainstormed a list:• One side gives up because they don’t want to dealwith the problem• One side forces the other side to give up• The sides negotiate a compromise• One or both sides ignore the problemThen he pointed out that:• One side giving up looks like win—lose• One side forcing the other to give up looks likewin—lose• Compromising looks like lose—lose and
  • 11. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 11• Both sides ignoring the problem is a lose—lose.Mother: “But what about the diagram?Just writing it didn’t seem to solve ourproblem.”John: “I’m getting to it.”“He gave us two more questions to askabout the wants and needs.” John pulledout a marker and drew an arrow from D toC and from D’ to B. “Mr. A. asked ‘Doeswant D block Need C and Does want D’block need B?’ When I saw that; I thoughtbefore changing C, the game didn’t block your need, butnow it does. And, not having the game also blocked myneed for fun.”Mother: “So we’re back to where we started?”John: “Oh, there is more and I don’t think I’m happy aboutit.”Mother: “I’m all ears.”John: “Mr. A said that the logic arrows in the diagram arelike bridges and that bridges need support. The things thatsupport the arrows are the assumptions we make. Toreally understand the conflict, we have to examine ourassumptions. If we find valid assumptions they providestrong support for the logic. If the assumptions aren’t validit’s like a faulty support for the bridge and the logic, like abridge, collapses. If the logic collapses the cloud is brokenand there is a way to resolve the conflict.”Mother: “I’m listening.”
  • 12. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 12John: “Well, we can examine the assumptions under all ofthe arrows, but we usually look first at the connectionsbetween the wants and the needs.So I looked for the assumptions we are making and here iswhat I found.” John unfolds another paper with the Cloudand the assumptions he had identified for his side and hismother’s side.“Look at your assumptions first. Even I think theyare valid and support your logic.”Mother: “I think so too.”John continues: “But when I look at theassumptions on my side, I’m not happy. All, but thefirst one, are obviously not valid and I’m not sureabout the first one.”“Why is that?”“I’ve never played KRAG so I don’t’ know if I’dreally like it. I’ve only seen the advertising and itgives the impression it’s exciting.”“So what do we do now?” Mother asked.“Well, Mr. A said there are a couple of alternatives:• I could give up my D because the logic islousy or• I could find an alternative way to meet myneedMother: “I know you never like to give up anything, so whatis your alternative?”“There’s a new adventure game called CONSTRAINTS*that I’d like to get. There’s no violence, but lots ofobstacles to overcome and it claims to teach you logicalthinking skills.”
  • 13. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 13“It sounds interesting, let me think about it.” Mother replied.“In the meantime, I’ve got this little conflict at work. Wouldyou think through it with me after dinner and we canpractice using this, what did your History teacher call it?”“An Evaporating Cloud”(*CONSTRAINTS is a fictitious name for a fictitious game.)A Second Day-to-Day Personal ExampleJohn, and his mother and father are sitting at the tableafter dinner. John’s mother has suggested that his fathermight like to see what John is learning at school. After all,they’ve used it to settle their squabble over the videogame.Father: “So what did you decide?”John: “That I’d like a different game that has no violenceand Mom said she’d think about it.”Father: “I could have told you that in the first place and wecould have avoided all the bickering this week.”Mother: “We’ve resolved that situation and I want to see ifthis thing, what did you call it again, If this thing will helpwith my conflict with the new V.P of Sales.Father: “I told you, you should have taken that job whenthey offered it to you. Now you’ve got to train a new V.P.with half your skills and he’s probably going to make thingsdifficult for you because you’ve been the star in thedivision.”John starts to leave for his room.
  • 14. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 14Mother: “Please sit down John. Your father and I will settlethis later. In fact this thing might help settle it.”Mother to Father: “Please just listen in and watch whathappens.”Mother: “John, bring your father up to date and explainwhat your History teacher is doing.”John: “Mr. A has been showing us a tool that he wants usto use during the school year to analyze historical conflicts.He says it can also be used to work on our own conflictsand that’s what we used to settle the video game dispute.”Mother: “Explain how it works.”John: “The first thing is to get the essence of the conflict bywriting a short story line. So tell us the story about theconflict you’re having at work?”Mother’ Story Line: “I’ve had a meeting scheduled withmy biggest client for tomorrow at 10 AM. They scheduled ita month ago to introduce me to some of their suppliers andthere is a very good chance that I can double the sales Ialready make to them. Last Friday the new V.P. of Salessent out an e-mail and called a mandatory meeting of allsales personnel for 10 AM tomorrow. Yesterday, I told himI couldn’t be there because of the meeting with the client,but he told me to reschedule the client and he wasexpecting see me at his meeting. My client worked hard toschedule the meeting with some very busy people and Idon’t want to jeopardize my relationship with them. At thesame time, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot withthe new V.P.”Father: “That’s simple, I’d just get in his face and explainthe facts of life that he doesn’t have a job without sales,that you turned down his new job, and that you are goingto the client meeting.”
  • 15. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 15Mother: “Please give us a chance to get John’smethod on the table before you pass judgment.”“John, go ahead, what’s next.”John: “After the story line, you identify what each sidewants. You want to go to the client meeting and hewants you to go to his meeting. And the meetings areat the same time.”Father: “Shouldn’t you put in the time of the meetings?It seems to be an important point.”Mother throws him a “look.” Father responds: “I’m justtrying to make a contribution.”John: “Let’s add the time.”“Now we identify the needs of both sides”Mother: “My needs are pretty clear. I need to preserve myrelationship with my client and I need to increase my salesdramatically.”John: “Let’s just use one of them.”Mother: “Okay, let’s preserve the currentrelationship as the other one is not certainyet.”John: “What’s the V.P.s need?”Oh, I think that’s pretty clear also. Hewants me to comply with his directive. He’sestablishing himself in a new place and likeall Alpha males he’s marking his territory.”Mother says as she glances at herhusband.
  • 16. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 16Mother: “Isn’t the next thing the common goal. That shouldbe clear to everyone that we all want to increase sales.John: “Now that we have a cloud, read it aloud.”Mother: “In order to increase our level of sales, Imust preserve the relationship with my client. Inorder to preserve the relationship with my client, Imust go to the client meeting at 10.”“Now the V.P.s side”“In order to increase sales, I must comply with theV.P.s directive. In order to comply with the V.P.sdirective, I must go to the V.P. meeting at 10.Mother: “That sounds right, but it doesn’t feel right. Itdoesn’t make any sense to me that complying with adirective increases sales when it puts my sales injeopardy.”Father: “John, you’ve been participating in sports and otherschool activities. Do your coaches sometimes havemandatory meetings?John: “Yes”Father: “Can you tell us why?”John: “They usually have a lot to say to us and somethings to hand out.”Father: “What’s the essence of what they have to say?”John: “They tell us what’s going well, what we need toimprove, and our goals for the week and the season. Theygive us a pep talk about helping each other, workingtogether, and pulling for the team.”
  • 17. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 17Mother: “I see where you’re going withthis. I need to change C so that itmakes sense and feels right. Youremember that my major complaintabout the last V.P. of Sales was that wewere always competing against andundercutting each other instead ofworking together as a team. Teambuilding was one of the top criteria inhiring this guy.”“Okay so assuming that I’m getting whatI asked for, I suppose that I need to help it happen bycollaborating in the process. C should read something like‘help build a sales team.’”“And I’ll read it. In order to increase our level of sales, Imust help build a sales team. In order to help build a salesteam, I must go to the V.P.s meeting at 10.”“John, I think I’m feeling like you did before dinner, but I’mnot seeing an alternative like your different video game.”John smiling: “You still need to check for blocking andcheck assumptions.”Mother draws the arrows and asks the questions. “Does Dgoing to my client meeting at 10 blockC his need to help build a sales team?”I suppose it does. If I don’t go to hismeeting I’ll not look like a team player.I’ll look like I think I’m too good to workwith the rest of the sales force and itwill diminish him in their eyes.”“Does D’ his wanting me at hismeeting at 10 block my need B topreserve the relationship with myclient. You bet it does!”
  • 18. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 18Mother: “John, do you have homework?”“This is it. Mr. A wanted us to write a couple of clouds onour own conflicts or things in our daily life. With this andthe video game and you and Dad this evening and me inthe principal’s office this afternoon, I’ve got a ton of stuff forclass tomorrow.Mother: “What do you mean, youin the principal’s office?”John: “Got yah, just kidding. But,you do need to do theassumptions on your meetingstomorrow. Can you talk to theV.P. before 10?Mother: “I’ll go in early. I’venoticed that he’s usually in by 6and my meeting is just acrosstown so I’ve only got 75 minutestravel time.”Mother wrote her assumptions onboth sides of the conflict.“You know you guys, this is good.It really makes me think about aconflict instead of saying or doingsomething I might later regret.”“Guys …any suggestions on howto handle it tomorrow?”John: “Well, you rememberwhen I started with describingyour side of the cloud. Did itsurprise you?”
  • 19. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 19Note: It’s not necessary to showthe Cloud to the person withwhom you are communicating. Itis sufficient if you are comfortabletalking through the cloud andraising the salient points.Mother: “A little, but I know you are a considerate person.The V.P. knows very little about me so it’s probably a goodidea to let him know right away that I can see his side ofthe situation. Then I’ll go through the assumptions and seewhat he has to say. It looks like my only hope is thatsomething comes up that makes him delay his meeting.”The Next MorningMother enters the V.P.s office. After a brief exchange ofpleasantries they get down to business.Mother: “I know that in order to increase sales, youprobably want to build more of a team effort among thesales force and that in order to build a team, you wanteveryone at your meeting at 10.”V.P.: “That’s exactly right and you know it better thananyone in the company.”Mother: “You also know that in order to increase sales, Imust maintain a good relationship with my major client. Inorder to maintain that relationship, I must meet with themat 10.”“I know that will make it appear that you aren’tserious about teamwork if I’m not there, and thatI’ll look like a queen bee and look bad to all mypeers.”V.P.: “I thought we’d settled this yesterday, but Isee you’ve given it some thought from my point of view.Let’s see, Charlie and Karen both called and said theirbest airline connections would make them up to a half hourlate, so we can’t really start on time anyway. How long willit take for your meeting?”
  • 20. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 20The stories above are adaptations of actual personalexperiences related to me by friends and colleagues.Mother: “About an hour and then we meet again later inthe week. I could probably be back here by noon.”V.P.: “Okay we’ll all meet in my conference room at 12:15for lunch. I’ll get a message to the rest of the folks to easeup a bit and not plan to arrive until lunch. I’m sure we’llwant to hear about your meetings later this week with yourbig client.”Mother: “Thank you. I’ll be there at 12:15.”Next is an example that could be used in History,Sociology, Economics, Technology Education, or Scienceclasses and perhaps others. The story line is adaptedfrom the essay The Tragedy of the Commons by GarrettHardin published in the journal Science, 162(1968):1243-1248.An Example of a Chronic Conflict for usein classroomsTopic: Impact on the EnvironmentStory Line:Picture a very large pasture where all can graze theircattle. Each cattle herder will attempt to keep as manycattle as possible on the commons. This arrangement maywork satisfactorily for generations because wars, poaching,and disease keep the numbers of people and cattle belowthe carrying capacity of the land. As the cattle herders tryto maximize their gain by adding cattle to their head, a timecomes when the herds overgraze the pasture. The qualityof the pastureland begins to decline. The cattle herdersare independent, self-reliant people. They make their owndecisions. All of the herders decide what to do with theirown herd. Adding to their own herd is a gain for them, buteveryone shares the loss to the common pasture. They
  • 21. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 21each decide to add more cattle to their own herd, all of theherds are increased, the pasture is ruined, and all of theherds are lost.This can be viewed as an independent decision or internalconflict of each cattle herder or it can be viewed as adecision to be considered by a group of cattle herders.In either case we are examining conflicts in a broadercontext and with different definitions. Here a choice ordecision is defined as a conflict between two necessaryconditions. If you view the decline of the commonpastureland as a problem, then the cloud defines aproblem as a conflict between two necessary conditions.Problems, choices, decisions, and conflicts may almostalways be described as a conflict between two necessaryconditions.Individual internal conflict or decisionThe herdsman facing the situation hasa choice between increasing his herdand not increasing his herd.In order to have a good life he mustmake a better living for his family. Inorder to have a better living for hisfamily, he must increase his herd.In order to have a good life he musthave good pastureland for his herd. Inorder to have good pastureland for hisherd he must not increase his herd.Checking for blocked needs and identifying assumptions inthis Cloud provides for extensive discussion of the difficultsituation faced by the herdsmen using the commons. Italso gives students an opportunity to consider alternativesolutions to the choices faced by historical figures.
  • 22. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 22Then identifying similar dilemmas in one’s personal life orin today’s society provides additional discussion. Bringingthe discussion of historical dilemmas into the personal livesof students makes history relevant to their lives.Group Conflict or DecisionThe “Tragedy of the Commons” story lineprovides additional dilemmas for thegroup of herders on the Commons.They face an uncertain future if thepastureland is overgrazed anddeteriorates. If they can see the potentialfor overgrazing and a ruined pastureland,they may find themselves faced withdeciding on some method of governingthe pasture. Historically, fences and theconcept of privately owned property aremethods that have been used to governwhat was once held in common.EvaluationHow good is the Evaporating Cloud? Does it do the taskswe assign to it? How well does it do those tasks? Whattasks have we assigned to the Cloud?How does the Cloud perform these tasks for theclassroom?• Describe a conflict, choice, or decision• Analyze a conflict, choice or decision• Find resolution to conflicts• Describe a problem• Analyze a problem• Find creative solutions to problems• Easy enough for children and powerful enough fortheir teachers
  • 23. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 23DescriptionThe Cloud is a simple tool for describing conflicts anddecisions. The five basic questions and the graphicrepresentation provide a picture for the mind’s eye. Thelogic of the diagram provides for clear thinking about thestructure of a conflict or decision. The structure and logicbring one or more of the sides of a conflict to see thesituation from the point of view of the other side.AnalysisThe Cloud supplies questions to logically analyze a conflictor decision. It brings the sides of a conflict to examine ifwhat they want will block the need of the other side. Itbrings each side to raise and question their ownassumptions as well as the assumptions of the other side.Resolving ConflictsThe Cloud does a good job of helping resolve conflictswhen there are obviously invalid assumptions that can berecognized by both sides of a conflict. The cloud can do agood job of resolving difficult conflicts when coupled withother thinking tools of the Theory of Constraints.Making DecisionsThe Cloud provides everything for decisions that itprovides for conflicts. It may do a better job of describingdecisions because they are even more internal than aconflict with another person. We seem to easily questionthe assumptions and attribute motivations to other people,but have a more difficult time doing the same for ourselves. With decisions we must examine both sidesinternally and determine our own assumptions andmotivations.
  • 24. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 24Solving ProblemsThe Cloud is good for solving problems that can bedescribed within its structure. It is excellent for examiningassumptions about the problem, but is weak at generatingcreative solutions as it relies on the individual’s experienceand intuition. Finding the creative solution is where theCloud couples well with TRIZ and inventive problemsolving.Ease of useThe Cloud has proven itself as an effective tool inclassrooms and on playgrounds around the world. It hasproven its effectiveness with children of four and five yearsold. It is painted on the floors of hundreds of classroomsand on the hard surface of as many playgrounds. Youngchildren, who are not yet writing, are able to talk their wayaround the Cloud.PowerfulThe Cloud and several other thinking processes of theTheory of Constraints are currently being used in businessand industry by workers on the factory floor and CEOs wholead the companies.The Cloud is a powerful and versatile tool to have in your toolbox!
  • 25. TOC Evaporating Cloud© 2008 Page 25

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