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Approach for Large Scale Problem Solving in the Age of Fragmentation

What does the age of fragmentation mean?  We have only partially taken advantage of the power of universal communication and ubiquitous data visibility, and in this partially blossomed bud of technology, we have formed groups of effort—fragments—that are not necessarily guided by a whole-system understanding, guided by the big picture.

Each individual, or individual group, represents a fragment that brings to the table its own:

  1. Understanding of how we want things to be—its desired state of the system,
  2. Description of the issues that are keeping the system from achieving the goal state, and
  3. Solutions how to remedy those issues.

What we want to do is unpack each element of the above three in sequence, one element at a time, focusing first only on aligning the fragments along #1—the understanding of how we want things to be—while postponing any discussion or distraction involving #2 and #3.

As a starting point to de-fragmentation, we propose using powerful visualization technology and facilitated dialogue to work towards a singular, concise articulation in about one sentence of #1. We come to a negotiated consensus about how to describe the goal state, #1; all stakeholders express agreement and feel they participated in obtaining that statement for #1 while the discussion of #2 and #3 remains postponed for later steps.

First align the goal statement, #1, and actively postpone the discussion of #2 and #3 while #1 is under discussion.

This goal statement, #1, articulated in short and concise written language, is what we call the superordinate goal.

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