September 24, 2010

Scaling questions with multiple goals

6 comments:

  1. What a nice example of a move away from an either/or framing of the situation to a both/and (or inclusive) framing.
    People's stuckness in life is often related to an either/or framing and change happens quite simply when we invite them to consider what both/and would look like.
    Evan George
    www.brief.org.uk

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  2. Hi Evan, thanks! Scales can really be used so flexibly. It's wonderful

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  3. That's a nice video you made! (Although I prefer reading text directly)

    In mathematics, "questions with multiple goals" are studied as non-linear systems, and one is looking either for "global maxima", "global minima", or similar. Strategies to find these are called nonlinear programming. The wikipedia article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_programming

    has nice illustrations which you might relate to.

    Systems would be called linear (as opposed to nonlinear) if each aspect can be separated from the others. In your words, achieving one goal would be independent of the other goals, or, there is no conflict between goals (Example: increase sales and fix the leaky roof).

    Working with nonlinear problems is a lot harder. But it is also more interesting. At

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimization_%28mathematics%29#How_can_an_optimum_be_found.3F

    a lot of methods are mentioned. Most commonly one thinks of these strategies to be executed on a computer. But I think in your area, they can also be used as guides for an individual or a group when deciding which step to follow next. It might not be easy to translate the math into words, but once the problem is identified, it should help to find improvements. At the least it might form a good basis for measuring progress.

    Cheers,

    Stephan

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  4. Hi Stephan,

    thanks for the interesting comment. I'll have a look at the pages you mention.

    I don't know too much about math and non-linear dynamics but do find it interesting to learn about it.

    Meanwhile, here's a post in which I mention, complexity theory, here is a post in which I mention linear versus circular change, and here is post in which I mention math and change

    thanks again!

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  5. Ok, fabuluous.

    This one: http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com/2010/08/mathematical-look-at-change-can-be.html
    explains just what I was trying to describe, but in the one-dimensional case. Multi-variate problems are a lot more difficult.

    About http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com/2010/08/complex-problems-ask-for-simplicity-of.html
    -- yes, when the system is complex + unpredictable you're going to have a hard time with strategies.

    http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com/2009/08/test-and-learn-model-of-change-repost.html doesn't seem to identify much about the problem being solved. So I think that steps towards improvement become arbitrary.

    Stephan

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  6. Hi Stephan,

    Thanks. I do have some more thoughts about multivariate problems (and I have had these for many years) but I have hardly ever written anything about it for the reason you mentioned. It is hard to put ideas that are "mathy" into words. What I usually do with complexer thoughts which I cannot readily put into words is wait until I have an idea of how to explain the thought. Anyway, the thoughts involve how competing goals may create a tension which can be dealt with or resolved in several sorts of ways. The type of relationship between the goals I am thinking of is of the character of communicating barrels. Focusing on one goal will lead to a decrease of tension on that side but to an increase on the other side. Switching your attention for one goal to the other will lead to a process of oscillation. It's not so easy to write sensibly and practically about this kind of topic. What is the relevance of this kind problem? What are good real life examples of such problems. What are sensible strategies of dealing with them. I hope I'm making sense

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