How to Address Complex Social Challenges: Transformative Scenario Processes and Social Lab Platforms

Adam Kahane 1“If you get your facts wrong, you get your map wrong. And if you get your map wrong, you take a wrong action. So, scenario planning is a way of making map for future,” said the Scenario Planning expert, Adam Kahane, on the Public Lecture at Jakarta Campus on Wednesday (27/11/2013). As he emphasised, Scenario is a story about what could happen. “It is not about a story what will happen. It is not a forecast, it is not about story what should happen, and it is not vision, prediction, proposal, or plan,” said Adam in front of 60 scholars and business practitioners.

Scenario Planning has two methods: Adaptive (to adapt with the condition) and Transformative (to change the condition). In the afternoon lecture, Adam came up to discuss more onto the transformative method where he titled his presentation with “How to Address Complex Social Challenges: Transformative Scenario Planning Processes and Social Lab Platforms.”

On his first move, he showed three types of complexity as follow. First is the Dynamic Complexity where the cause and effect are far apart and interdependent. The second one would be Social Complexity in which actors have different perspectives and interests. And the last one to explain was Generative Complexity where future is unfamiliar and undetermined.

“The work that we do is helping government, business, and society to work on their most complex challenges. If you remember the South Africans history when Nelson Mandela was released from the prison in February 1990. That was the first time a scenario planning method was used not as a tool for expert analysis, but an effective tool for dialogue amongst the actors, oppositions, left and right, black and white about what could happen in the system,” shared the associate Fellow at the Said Business School Oxford University who facilitated the Mont Fleur Scenario in 1991-1992.

He continued to further explain about his topic presentation. There were two methods to tackle the complex social challenges. “What I would like to do is to explain two methods that have been used to do this work: Transformative Scenario Planning and Social Lab Platforms,” said Adam. Moreover about those two methods in details:

1. Transformative with Scenario Planning
transformativeStep 1: Convene a team from across the whole system.
Step 2: Observe what is happening.
Step 3: Construct stories about what could happen.
Step 4: Discover what can and must be done.
Step 5: Act to transform the system.

2. Social Lab Platforms
social_labA platform for addressing a complex social challenge that is:
Systemic
Addressing root causes – rather than only symptoms
Social/participative
Bringing together diverse participants from different sectors to work in a team.
With the participation of diverse stakeholders – rather than only of experts or technocrats.
Experimental/creative
Taking an iterative approach, prototyping interventions and managing a portfolio of promising solutions.
An ongoing and sustained effort – rather than only a project. (Source: Zaid Hassan, The Social Labs Revolution)
Adam Kahane 2

References:
Transformative Scenario Planning: Working Together to Change the Future
The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges Adam Kahane 1“If you get your facts wrong, you get your map wrong. And if you get your map wrong, you take a wrong action. So, scenario planning is a way of making map for future,” said the Scenario Planning expert, Adam Kahane, on the Public Lecture at Jakarta Campus on Wednesday (27/11/2013). As he emphasised, Scenario is a story about what could happen. “It is not about a story what will happen. It is not a forecast, it is not about story what should happen, and it is not vision, prediction, proposal, or plan,” said Adam in front of 60 scholars and business practitioners.

Scenario Planning has two methods: Adaptive (to adapt with the condition) and Transformative (to change the condition). In the afternoon lecture, Adam came up to discuss more onto the transformative method where he titled his presentation with “How to Address Complex Social Challenges: Transformative Scenario Planning Processes and Social Lab Platforms.”

On his first move, he showed three types of complexity as follow. First is the Dynamic Complexity where the cause and effect are far apart and interdependent. The second one would be Social Complexity in which actors have different perspectives and interests. And the last one to explain was Generative Complexity where future is unfamiliar and undetermined.

“The work that we do is helping government, business, and society to work on their most complex challenges. If you remember the South Africans history when Nelson Mandela was released from the prison in February 1990. That was the first time a scenario planning method was used not as a tool for expert analysis, but an effective tool for dialogue amongst the actors, oppositions, left and right, black and white about what could happen in the system,” shared the associate Fellow at the Said Business School Oxford University who facilitated the Mont Fleur Scenario in 1991-1992.

He continued to further explain about his topic presentation. There were two methods to tackle the complex social challenges. “What I would like to do is to explain two methods that have been used to do this work: Transformative Scenario Planning and Social Lab Platforms,” said Adam. Moreover about those two methods in details:

1. Transformative with Scenario Planning
transformativeStep 1: Convene a team from across the whole system.
Step 2: Observe what is happening.
Step 3: Construct stories about what could happen.
Step 4: Discover what can and must be done.
Step 5: Act to transform the system.

2. Social Lab Platforms
social_labA platform for addressing a complex social challenge that is:
Systemic
Addressing root causes – rather than only symptoms
Social/participative
Bringing together diverse participants from different sectors to work in a team.
With the participation of diverse stakeholders – rather than only of experts or technocrats.
Experimental/creative
Taking an iterative approach, prototyping interventions and managing a portfolio of promising solutions.
An ongoing and sustained effort – rather than only a project. (Source: Zaid Hassan, The Social Labs Revolution)
Adam Kahane 2

References:
Transformative Scenario Planning: Working Together to Change the Future
The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges