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Systems Thinking for Intractable Problems: From Problem-Solving to Emergence-Seeking

Systems Thinking for Intractable Problems: From Problem-Solving to Emergence-Seeking image

Where have all the simple problems gone? It seems that every group I work with these days is dealing with long-term, often intractable problems. Water management, ag land preservation, housing, climate change, and rural economic resilience all challenge the very way we think about problems and solutions. Multiple layers of complexity often obscure both the obvious and the not-so-obvious.

So what can we do? Clearly it is not enough to simply walk away from these complex challenges, nor is it enough to adopt simple fixes  that often have unintended impacts as damaging as the problem itself. One answer is to use some of the tools from systems thinking.

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