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Has media reached a reality/complexity tipping point?

A landmark paper appeared last December in the National Science Review (summary).  It describes the complex interdependencies between climate, consumption, population, demographics, inequality, economic growth, migration, and more.  Written by an interdisciplinary team of 20 authors hailing from organizations worldwide including NASA, Johns Hopkins, and more, the paper explains that it is impossible to understand these systems in isolation.  There are important—and non-obvious—interactions.  Poverty impacts climate.   Inequity impacts the status of women.   Conflict impacts resource usage.  And much more.

The bottom line: our understanding of the world is no longer good enough.  We need to raise our game.

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One link think

In the swirl of events, I’m often left wondering if there’s something deeper going on.  Our leaders seem to be increasingly missing the bigger picture.  A glimpse, here and there, into the underlying cause of dead ends we’ve reached: problems with capitalism, the media, politics, climate, conflict, health care.   Is there a common cause?

2016 might arguably be characterized as the year we all decided we’d had enough of government as usual.  Between Brexit, the Trump ascendancy, and the sheer energy behind the Bernie Sanders campaign, it seems that many are thinking, “enough is enough”.  And that’s the good news.  When disenfranchised groups have zero representation, then terrorism and revolt seem to be the inevitable outcomes.

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Welcome to the age of unintended consequences

So one of my favorite things about decision intelligence is its promise to help to overcome unintended consequences. As a way to capture both mental models, as well as providing an ongoing infrastructure to gather evidence to support and refine what start out as mental models and end up as sophisticated systems models, I’m tremendously excited about the future of what we can do.

Look at failures through the lens of unintended consequences, then fix broken systems. Click To Tweet

I’ve been maintaining a site with interesting examples of unintended consequences, and starting to detect systematic patterns: Continue reading

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