problem solving

cobweb

Spider-Web Problem-Solving

To benefit from the power of indirect influence, we must think systemically. The alternative is to assume a straight line between cause and effect. Doing A, B, and C leads to X, Y, and Z. This view sees life as a machine; press the right buttons and you get the outcome you want. This mechanistic attitude presents itself in churches when Christians offer spiritual solutions for all problems. It’s the same category of mistake the…

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Tetrapod

Systems Thinking and Wicked Problems

The term “systemic thinking” is a fancy way to say that all of life’s things—both visible and invisible—constantly bump into one another causing reverberations that expand out and affect every other thing. Take, for instance, the iPhone—an intelligent phone—a simple idea that had a revolutionary impact on many levels. This one thing has increased the production and sharing of information to a place where more information is produced in one day than was produced in…

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photo of spider webs in barn

Problem-Solving and Inverse Insight

What do you do when you run up against a problem that refuses to be resolved? Maybe we can get by with a little help from our philosophers. One of my favorite philosophers is Bernard Lonergan. In volume three of his monumental Collected Works, Lonergan explores the concept of Insight, which he defines as the “act of understanding.” But what caught my attention this week was not insight itself, but rather Lonergan’s idea of “Inverse…

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spilled coffee

Spilled Coffee

Sunday night I spilled half a cup of cold coffee directly onto my brand new HP Envy 14 notebook. Today is Tuesday and—using an external keyboard—I am transferring as many critical files from the now wounded computer over to another computer that I will have to use for a couple weeks. Fortunately, I purchased the extended warranty and spills are covered (so much for those who say these warranties are not worth it). I thought…

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photo of swamp morass

Navigating the Morass of Decision-Making

ORGANIZATIONS ARE ALL ABOUT DECISIONS. They have prospered or declined on the basis of a few critical decisions that bent the future in one direction or another. For managers, making a decision can be like navigating a swamp filled with poisonous snakes and shifting footings. Should you include everyone in the decision or should you just make it on your own? Following is a series of questions that might help you decide how to decide.…

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  • Psalm 94:18-19 August 23, 2019
    “When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
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