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Article

Hamilton Coimbra Carvalho and Jose Afonso Mazzon

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The goal is to incorporate complexity tools, in particular from the system dynamics field, and the promotion of mindware within a true transdisciplinary paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses literature review to support the proposed theoretical development. It also presents a short case study.

Findings

Most problems that plague our modern societies have a distinctive complex nature that is not amenable to traditional social marketing interventions. Social marketing has simplified the problem of bringing about societal change by thinking that upstream social actors can be influenced in the same way as downstream individuals. This paper shows that this is not the case while proposing a framework to close this gap.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework is a theoretical one. It depends on further refinements and actual application to wicked problems.

Practical implications

Complex social problems – or wicked problems – remain widespread in modern societies. Moreover, they are getting worse over time. The paper presents a proposal to redefine the limits of the social marketing discipline so it can be more useful to tackle such problems. Practical approaches such as measuring the success of mindware in the marketplace of ideas are implied in the proposed framework.

Social implications

The increase in complexity of social problems has not been accompanied by an evolution in the discipline of social marketing. The lack of proper conceptual tools has prevented the discipline from contributing to tackling these problems effectively. Some interventions may actually worsen the underlying problems, as illustrated in the paper.

Originality/value

This paper identifies two major gaps associated with the social marketing discipline, in particular the lack of complexity and systems thinking and the forsaking of ideas (mindware) as a legitimate goal of the discipline. This realization corroborates the claim that boundaries among disciplines are often artificial, hindering the proper understanding of complex social problems. In turn, only the use of adequate conceptual lenses makes it possible to devise interventions and programs that tackle actual causes (instead of symptoms) of complex social problems.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article

G. Steiner and D. Laws

The main focus of this paper is to discuss appropriate forms of higher education for building up students' competence for working on complex real‐world problems.

Abstract

Purpose

The main focus of this paper is to discuss appropriate forms of higher education for building up students' competence for working on complex real‐world problems.

Design/methodology/approach

Within this paper the Harvard approach is accurately compared with the ETH approach by discussing theoretical and practical implications as well.

Findings

It is argued that the Harvard case study approach is a sensible approach to bridging the gap between the academic and the practical world, but it has important limits in preparing students to cope with complex real‐world problems. In some important respects, the ETH case study approach goes further by exposing students directly to the multi‐faceted and complex character of real‐world problems.

Practical implications

The ETH approach puts additional demands on students and teachers to bridge the gap between university and society with a high degree of responsibility. Consequently, a combination of both the Harvard and the ETH approach might be interesting.

Originality/value

The comparison of the Harvard case study approach with the ETH case study approach is novel. The discussion of educational together with practical implications provides insight to the peculiarities of each single approach together with an orientation for their implementation within higher education. Guidance is given to universities who are deciding what educational means have to be implemented in order to prepare their students for the task of solving complex real‐world problems in an inter but also transdisciplinary manner.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article

Sharon Zivkovic

The purpose of this paper is to question the appropriateness of current lab types for addressing wicked problems. A new lab type, a Systemic Innovation Lab, is proposed…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the appropriateness of current lab types for addressing wicked problems. A new lab type, a Systemic Innovation Lab, is proposed which combines the features of existing labs that are suited to addressing wicked problems.

Design/methodology/approach

Characteristics of initiatives that are considered appropriate for addressing wicked problems and existing lab types that contain any of these characteristics are identified. These lab types are Social Innovation Labs, Living Labs, Urban Living Labs, Urban Transition Labs and Public Sector Innovation Labs. The proposed new lab type is reasoned by combining the features of existing labs that are suited to addressing wicked problems. How the new lab would work in practice is illustrated with a case study.

Findings

When addressing wicked problems, labs need to take a systemic design and not a service design approach. They also need to focus on addressing complex problems, take a place-based and transition approach, enable coherent action by diverse actors, involve users as co-creators, support a networked governance approach and recognize government as an enabler of change.

Practical implications

This paper provides a new lab type designed specifically for addressing wicked problems. This new lab supports practitioners that take a systemic design, solution ecosystem and systemic innovation approach. Systemic design is based on a core set of principles that are a crossover between design and complexity theory.

Originality/value

For the first time, this paper analyzes different lab types to determine their appropriateness for addressing wicked problems. It also proposes a new lab type whose sole purpose is addressing wicked problems.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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Article

Marcilio Andrade and Dermeval Carinhana Jr

This purpose of this study is to structure complex problems to be solved with greater efficiency, optimising the relationship between root causes (RC) relevance of the…

Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this study is to structure complex problems to be solved with greater efficiency, optimising the relationship between root causes (RC) relevance of the problem and utilisation of human resources to treat them, minimising the use of manpower in problem-solving activity and thus contributing to greater productivity within organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors built an approach under the concepts of theory of constraints and multiattribute and multiobjective decision-making methods that were applied in a real complex problem of the low development of Brazilian space industry, by theoretical perspective. Also, the authors submitted it in a simulation environment to assess in which situations it is successful considering number of problem’s RC, system complexity and number of people in the system.

Findings

The approach was successful on the real case, finding the optimal relationship between the RC relevance and the number of people involved to treat them. For certain complex problem inputs configurations, simulation results reveal that the approach is reliable obtaining more than 95% chance of success in finding the optimal relationship, when comparing with traditional prioritising methods.

Originality/value

This approach introduces an unprecedented way to locate and evaluate non-physical constraints within a system, which is used to determine RC relevance, as well as an unprecedented way of defining a single optimal solution for structuring a problem, considering the relevance of RC and the use of human resources. The approach is useful for organisations in general which often need managing complex problems with few resources.

Details

Journal of Modelling in Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5664

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Article

Li Shuiping and Wan Xiaoxue

The purpose of this paper is to find a global method for the limited K‐partitioning of hypergraphs representing optimal design problems in complex machine systems.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find a global method for the limited K‐partitioning of hypergraphs representing optimal design problems in complex machine systems.

Design/methodology/approach

To represent some real design considerations, a new concept of semi‐free hypergraphs is proposed and a method to apply semi‐free hypergraphs to the decomposition of complex design problems based on optimal models is also suggested. On this basis, the limited K‐partitioning problem of semi‐free hypergraphs and its partitioning objective for the optimal design of complex machines is presented. A global method based on genetic algorithms, GALKP, for the limited K‐partitioning of semi‐free hypergraphs is also proposed. Finally, a case study is presented in detail.

Findings

Semi‐free hypergraphs are a more powerful tool to map a complex engineering design problem. The decomposition of complex design problems may be converted to a limited K‐partitioning problem of semi‐free hypergraphs. The algorithm presented in this paper for the limited K‐partitioning of semi‐free hypergraphs is fast, effective, and powerful.

Research limitations/implications

The traditional methods based on hypergraphs have some limitations while applied to the decomposition of some complex problems such as the design of large‐scale machine systems. The proposed method is helpful to solve similar engineering design problems.

Practical implications

The paper illustrates a faster and more effective method to implement the decomposition of large‐scale optimal design problems in complex machine systems.

Originality/value

This paper shows a new way to solve the complex engineering design problems based on semi‐free hypergraphs and its K‐partitioning method.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article

Charles B. Keating, Paul Kauffmann and David Dryer

This paper introduces a systems‐based framework to facilitate structured analysis of complex issues. The framework was created out of a management development effort with…

Abstract

This paper introduces a systems‐based framework to facilitate structured analysis of complex issues. The framework was created out of a management development effort with the primary emphasis on development of systems problem‐solving skills through analysis of complex operational issues. Drawing from systems science, the strength of the approach rests inthe holistic analysis of structure, relationships, and emergent dynamics of problematic situations. The fundamental systems principles underpinning the approach are developed to provide an essential “systems background” as a foundation for the framework. The utility of the framework is discussed with respect toresults from an application in an organizational setting. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications and limitations of the framework for development of systemic thinking and complex problem analysis.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 20 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article

Terence Ahern, P.J. Byrne and Brian Leavy

The purpose of this paper is to extend the learning boundaries of traditional project capability, which follows the linear planning paradigm, in order to include…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the learning boundaries of traditional project capability, which follows the linear planning paradigm, in order to include non-linear complex projects that cannot be completely specified and planned in advance, and so require continuous learning over their life cycles.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on an earlier empirical investigation, where complex-project capability (CPC) is developed through dynamic organizational learning based on non-linear problem solving, the paper examines some of the conceptual and practical implications of this process insight. The focus here is on incomplete pre-given knowledge and emergent knowledge creation during CPC development.

Findings

Using the three interrelated dimensions of project type, knowledge creation method, and organizational learning approach, the paper reinterprets Karl Popper’s linear problem solving model for learning in traditional projects by introducing the concept of knowledge entropy (disorder) for learning in non-linear complex projects. The latter follows a path from “order to disorder to order” rather than from “order to order” under traditional assumptions.

Research limitations/implications

By identifying a common learning process at individual, group, and organizational levels, developing CPC can be viewed as a “learning organization”. This multi-level approach facilitates research into distributed organizing for emergent knowledge creation during CPC development.

Practical implications

In contrast to traditional planned projects with up-front prior knowledge, complex projects are characterized by incomplete knowledge. The challenge of dealing with knowledge uncertainty in complex projects through continuous learning has practical implications for project learning, planning, knowledge management, and leadership.

Originality/value

The concept of knowledge entropy (disorder) extends the learning boundaries of traditional projects, where little learning is anticipated, by including complex projects with knowledge uncertainty requiring continuous learning.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article

Sharon Zivkovic

This paper aims to question the utility of addressing food insecurity through food assistance programmes and by separating food security into pillars, and it argues for a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to question the utility of addressing food insecurity through food assistance programmes and by separating food security into pillars, and it argues for a systemic innovation and complexity approach. This is achieved by demonstrating that food insecurity is a wicked problem and therefore needs to be addressed holistically.

Design/methodology/approach

To establish that food insecurity is a wicked problem, characteristics of food insecurity are aligned to characteristics of wicked problems. The need to address wicked problems holistically through a systemic innovation approach and an understanding of complexity theory is discussed by referring to the literature. How to take such an approach for addressing food insecurity is illustrated by describing the use of an online tool that takes a systemic innovation and complexity approach.

Findings

Given food insecurity is a wicked problem and needs to be addressed holistically, the focus when addressing food insecurity should not be on programmes or pillars. Instead, it needs to be on increasing the coherence and building the adaptive capacity of food insecurity solution ecosystems.

Practical implications

This paper provides insights into the nature of food insecurity and how to address food insecurity.

Originality/value

For the first time, this paper aligns characteristics of food insecurity to characteristics of wicked problems and demonstrates how an online tool for systemic innovation can assist food insecurity solution ecosystems to address food insecurity.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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Article

Guido Ellert, Guido Schafmeister, David Wawrzinek and Heike Gassner

The purpose of this paper is to analyse event management by using three value creation logics, value chain, value network and value shop. In event management, value is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse event management by using three value creation logics, value chain, value network and value shop. In event management, value is generated through intermediation where the dominant creation logic is a value network. However, the complexity of events and danger of unexpected problems is increasing, which, in the worst case, leads to event failure. This fact makes it necessary to change the general attitude towards this topic from risk management to uncertainty management and use the value shop in order to solve problems efficiently.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on the methodology of phenomenological hermeneutics which analyzes the object of study by interpreting the facticity and provides basics to generate a conceptual model.

Findings

The dominant value creation logic must be changed to prevent the value network from failure in generating value, since only the value shop provides high quality problem solving. Trust not only in planning but also in the own problem-solving competence and available tools is a major part of the value shop. As a practical example of high quality problem solving, the performance of high reliability organisations can be used by event managers.

Research limitations/implications

Using these hermeneutical gained logic, additional empirical research projects in event management, leadership and problem-solving competence of top managers, are promptly intended. Additionally, studies concerning competences and structures of the uncertainty management team have to be determined and developed as well as education and coaching has to be generated in order to achieve best results in problem solving.

Practical implications

Practical implications of this paper are: considering the value shop as the dominant value creation logic in uncertainty management; establishing a specially trained Complex Problem-Solving Team; and considering trust to be an essential element of the value shop.

Social implications

The basic job requirements a successful value net (event-) manager has to provide in such a complex system are: acting as integrator, mediator and problem solver simultaneously. Additionally event managers need to be trained to rethink the value creation logic and use the value shop within the value net to stay flexible and work successfully during their events.

Originality/value

Derived from this new perspective the necessity of enhancing the implemented value creation logic according to uncertainties allows event managers to solve unexpected problems faster and more efficiently.

Details

International Journal of Event and Festival Management, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1758-2954

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Book part

Olivia B. Newton, Travis J. Wiltshire and Stephen M. Fiore

Team cognition research continues to evolve as the need for understanding and improving complex problem solving itself grows. Complex problem solving requires members to…

Abstract

Team cognition research continues to evolve as the need for understanding and improving complex problem solving itself grows. Complex problem solving requires members to engage in a number of complicated collaborative processes to generate solutions. This chapter illustrates how the Macrocognition in Teams model, developed to guide research on these processes, can be utilized to propose how intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) could be developed to train collaborative problem solving. Metacognitive prompting, based upon macrocognitive processes, was offered as an intervention to scaffold learning these complex processes. Our objective is to provide a theoretically grounded approach for linking intelligent tutoring research and development with team cognition. In this way, team members are more likely to learn how to identify and integrate relevant knowledge, as well as plan, monitor, and reflect on their problem-solving performance as it evolves. We argue that ITSs that utilize metacognitive prompting that promotes team planning during the preparation stage, team knowledge building during the execution stage, and team reflexivity and team knowledge sharing interventions during the reflection stage can improve collaborative problem solving.

Details

Building Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Teams
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-474-1

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