A Proposed Practical Problem-Solving Framework for Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Socio-Ecological Systems Based on a Model of the Human Cognitive Problem-Solving Process

by   Kevin Kells, et al.

A practical problem-solving framework is proposed for multi-stakeholder initiative (MSI) problem-solving processes involving socio-ecological systems (SES), so-called wicked problems, based on insights borrowed from a model of the individual human, cognitive problem-solving process. The disciplined facilitation of the multi-stakeholder process, adhering to the steps recognized in the individual process, is meant to reduce confusion and conflict. Obtaining a one- to three-sentence human-language description of the desired system state, as a first step, is proposed in multi-stakeholder initiatives for reasons of goal congruence and trust building. The systematic, stakeholder-driven subdivision of obstacles into larger numbers of simpler obstacles is proposed in order to obtain a list of "what needs to be done," inviting a more rational and goal-driven conversation with resource providers. Finally, obtaining and maintaining stakeholder buy-in over the course of the problem-solving effort is reinforced by reflecting back to all stakeholders, as a communication device, a dynamic, visual problem-solving model, taking into account the diversity of cognitive and individual capacities within the stakeholder group in its presentation. Mathematical parameters for gauging applicability of the proposed framework are discussed.


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