Questions and Frameworks to answer them

After the Breaking Out book inspired this long post, Margie and I decided to spend a bit more time looking at the questions that might be inspiring us (or causing a ‘fascination’) and the frameworks that we have found interesting in starting to answer our questions.

frameworksIf I start with the Breaking Out book itself, I suggest the following results:

My core question: How can we solve the world’s problems?…. together?…. by learning faster? ……by sharing a common understanding? …. and what’s my role?

My resulting answer seems to be multilayered once I go from the more high level question to answering why I read the book in the first place.

My theory: We have opportunities to learn faster and from millions, solving big problems needs that kind of global wisdom. This is only part of the puzzle though – learning also comes from experimenting, experiencing and customising to our own situation.

Butman’s framework: Butman says we need to 1) identify our fascination (because that is where we have accumulated learning),  2) have a sacred expression / theory / framework and 3) cause respiration where our work is shared and further developed with our audience.

…and why I like it: I am encouraged by the book to get out and share my work and find my audience because it is both a way for me to contribute and a way for me to learn. I like that if I my own framework is clever enough it will garner a larger audience and I will learn / contribute faster – admittedly there is some ego in there too.

I thought I would track the discussion in my earlier post and try and answer the same questions for the ‘fascinations’ that I had explored.

Web 2.0

  • Core question: How can we use Web 2.0 to solve the world’s problems?
  • Theory: Our contributions can be efficient and our reach extensive so we can have more impact with social online tools.
  • Framework: Clay Shirky’s proposes we can do everything from sharing, to cooperation, to collective action (each step harder than the last) and the needed trio are a plausible promise, an effective tool and an acceptable bargain.
  • Why I like it: “Progress doesn’t come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men (sic) looking for easier ways to do things”

Economics especially behavioral economics

  • Core question: How can we learn from the discipline of economics and apply it to life and our values – not just to money?
  • Theory: Economics helps explain decision making and the decisions of millions of people can bring about change so we need to understand how to leverage and influence those decisions.
  • Framework:  Pizza Theory uses time, rather than money to measure what we spend – it needs work though.
  • Why I like it: markets can be a very effective form of group decision making, change can happen very fast.

Formal and informal sources of power

  • Core question: What really controls / influences / drives change?
  • Theory: Anyone who contributes time/effort, money, or status/authority into a project deserves to influence the changes – (will Web 2.0 make this more true?)
  • Framework:  I can think of a number and I’m dreaming up one of my own.
  • Why I like it: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Easy access to the best information for your sustainability decision

  • Core question: How can we help people make better decisions – for the planet, for their community?
  • Theory: I believe people want to do whatever they can to live more sustainable lives but we need to help the best decisions to become easy for them to make.
  • Framework:  I’ve been exploring the economics frame of decision making, the IAP2 frame of engaged learning and the digital world of crowdsourcing decisions and easily finding shared values. It would be good to have a single frame to point at.
  • Why I like it: It pains me that we only access a tiny proportion of the world’s smarts when making decisions.

The right role for everyone

  • Core question: How can we encourage everyone to contribute by accessing their strengths and ensuring excellent rather than dysfunctional group processes?
  • Theory: We can change the world with a little help from everyone – it’s only right that everyone is offered an opportunity to be part of such an important undertaking.
  • Framework:  In my post about changemakers it was the six types from the story of stuff that resonated for me. I suggested that the key elements for change might be collaboration, storytelling, a learning journey, power, visible progress/ quick wins / feedback loop. I am also a fan of MBTI and the Gallup Strengths framework for understanding how we bring our best self to the world.
  • Why I like it: Self awareness has been a huge personal growth step for me and I wish it for everyone else (especially my kids). I can get a bit evangelical about it I’m afraid.

What do you think? Am I just spouting self-evident truths or are there parts of this discussion that motivate you to take me to task? let’s talk about that…

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About Heather

I am an energy and climate change specialist with a background in industrial energy efficiency and climate change policy.
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