Black Swans and Scenario Planning

Steve Cork's lecture on uncertainty was interesting but more than anything else it offered a framework for ways of understanding the rest of the course. It was a stern lesson in letting go of expectations and perceived inevitabilities. I agree that so many problems are due to a failure of imagination and a tacit acceptance that things are just the way that they are. It reminded me of the previous quote on the failure of economics. There is a difficultly in that the people who are in positions of power have often been promoted through specialisation and excellence in their field and have become bound by their expectations. Maybe they should take some advice from The Queen of Hearts:

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.

The child-like whimsy epitomises for me the point of view necessary for beginning to address complex or even, wicked problems: To always be on the look out for Black Swans

Because I think that the ideas in Steve Cork's talk will be a good framework to keep coming back to throughout the course I have made some visual representations of key ideas for easy reference.

First of all a quick guide to identifying wicked problems (which can be clicked on to make larger and readable). The talk was thought-provoking in terms of the difference between complex problems and those that are simply complicated. The diagram helps in drawing the distinction.

I also think what Cork had to say about strategic planning was very helpful, not only for this course but as something that can be used from everyday problems right through to complex ones.
The other thing that came out his lecture is that emerging theme of connectedness. The whole format of the course reflects this idea and I think that as we go on it will become dominant. I wonder though if all problems lend themselves to connectedness or is it just not possible for some?