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Cutting Through Complexity: The Engineer’s Guide to Solving Difficult Social Problems with Root Cause Analysis

Dueling Loops fromt cover

6" by 9." Click the cover image to read the PDF book. Here are the book's system dynamics models. For the model used in the last chapter, see this paper.

Here is the fabulous graphic on Falsehood Face-off. This shows at a glance how in the US, convervatives consistantly rate higher on falsehoods than liberals. This data offers some proof the Dueling Loops model is correct.

Here is the chapter on the Truth Literacy Training experiment. Study results appear to confirm that the high leverage point of raising political truth literacy from low to high exists, and can be pushed on relatively easily.

Here is the chapter on Politician Truth and Corruption Ratings.

This book is the latest summation of our research. From the back cover:

Why has society, despite the brilliant efforts of millions of environmentalists, been unable to solve the sustainability problem? Common answers are lack of political will, market failure, this is a hard problem, and human greed. But none of these answers help to solve the problem.

Thwink.org’s answer to this question takes an entirely different approach, one so uncommon it may appear radical at first glance. The reason society has been unable to solve the sustainability problem is because popular solutions do not resolve root causes.

What then are the root causes? What might the solution strategies for resolving the root causes look like? Above all, what might a suitable process for finding the root causes resemble?

These are the questions this book attempts to answer.

 

 

Common Property Rights:
A Process Driven Approach to Solving the Complete Sustainability Problem

Common Property Rights front cover2011, 478 pages, 6" by 9." Click the image to read the book. Here are the book's system dynamics models.

SPECIAL NOTE - This book, completed in 2011, has mostly been replaced by the one above, Cutting Through Complexity. The Common Property Rights (CPR) book does contains some CPR material not in Cutting Through Complexity. The most important of this are the chapters on A Representative Case of Solution Failure and Striking Where Change Resistance Is Low. If you are primarily interested in CPR, this is the better book.

Part One presents the solution element closest to being ready to implement. This is Common Property Rights. The world already has a mature private property right system, one so good it brought us the Industrial Revolution. Now we need to add the Common Property Rights system, which will trigger the Sustainability Revolution.

Part Two examines the problem solving processes used by the world's sustainability problem solvers. Why these have failed is examined in honesty and depth. Learning from that, a process capable of solving the problem is presented. This is the System Improvement Process. It's basically a wrapper for root cause analysis and model based analysis that allows those tools be more easily applied to difficult social problems.

Part Three then analyzes the sustainability problem using the System Improvement Process. This is presented in all the detail you need to see a bold new truth: Difficult social problems can be rationally analyzed and solved. No longer must activists rely on intuition, time, and luck to win. There is a better way. All it takes is the right tools used in the right way.

The book is a potentially enlightening read. The complexity of the problem is stripped away, leaving the bare bones of the problem's structure plain to see. The four subproblems are explored. Root causes are found for each subproblem. So are their high leverage points and sample solution elements.

It's a serious book for a serious problem. Reading it requires an open mind. Be prepared to have your present mental model of how to solve the problem replaced by an entirely new one that is now capable of solving the complete sustainability problem in our lifetimes.

 

The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace:
Why Progressives Are Stymied and How They Can Find Their Way Again

Dueling Loops fromt cover2014, 212 pages, 6" by 9." Click the image to read the book.

This book carries three main messages.

The first is the Dueling Loops model explains the mystery of why progressives have been unable to reliably solve difficult social problems.

Underneath lies a more subtle second message. The Dueling Loops model is an example of how, once activists can clearly “see” the dynamic structure of the problems they are working on, what to do to solve them will become relatively obvious.

Going even deeper, activists will develop sound models and use them to solve difficult problems only if they are driven by a process that fits the problem. This is the third and deepest message. Activists are problem solvers. A process that fits the problem will become the foundation for progressivism, just as the process of double entry accounting became the foundation for the business world in the 15th century and the Scientific Method became the foundation for all of science in the 17th century.

 

Analytical Activism: A New Approach to Solving the Sustainability Problem and Other Difficult Activist Problems

Analytical Activism front cover2006, 392 pages, 8 1/2" by 11." Click the image to read the book.

SPECIAL NOTE - This book has been replaced by Cutting Through Complexity.

Rather than approaching the sustainability problem directly, this book approaches it indirectly. The book says that to solve difficult social problems like sustainability, problem solvers must change how they work. They must switch from Classic Activism to Analytical Activism.

This will just as big a change as the Scientific Revolution, which changed hard science problem solvers from alchemists to true scientists. That revolution ultimately gave us the Industrial Revolution.

So shouldn't we learn from that pattern? What might happen if we can change soft science problem solvers like environmentalists and progressives from an approach that doesn't work to one that does?