Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Advanced Course on Multi-Dimensional Analysis - Effectively Addressing Apparently Intractable Problems

Advanced Course on Multi-Dimensional Analysis - Effectively Addressing Apparently Intractable Problems

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Key Info: 
  • An advanced course for experienced practitioners of applied complexity theory
  • A very practical approach, based on sound theory, to effectively address complex organisational problems, not amenable to other approaches
  • A unique process to enable organisations not only to identify the complex challenges they are facing, but to also address them effectively

With Eve Mitleton-Kelly

£ 899.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and teaching sessions.
The programme will run from Monday to Sunday afternoon and includes six nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details.

Complex problems, whether organisational, societal or global, often appear not only difficult but intractable, and seem not to have an effective solution. The main reason is that the approach used is often inappropriate. They are complex, yet they are addressed using linear tools and methods.

Complex problems have many aspects and multiple interacting causalities, yet organisations often focus on a few or even a single cause. They also insist on finding a ‘solution’ when such a solution would only be applicable within a certain set of circumstances and may no longer be relevant when those circumstances change.

Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly has worked with the Sciences of Complexity for 23 years to address practical complex problems in the private, public and voluntary sectors. She has worked with the UN, the European Commission, advised five Government Administrations and many organisations worldwide. In the process she has developed the EMK Complexity Methodology to effectively address these problems.

The one-week advanced course is for academics, business-executives, policy-makers, Overseas Development professionals or anyone looking to effectively address complex organisational problems. However, the material covered in the 2-week courses will not be repeated and the course is therefore primarily for those who have attended the 2-week courses.

Outline of Advanced Course
It will be assumed that students are familiar with the 10 Principles of Complexity used in the EMK Complexity Methodology. Also that the students are experienced practitioners in interviewing and analysis techniques also used in the EMK Methodology.

The Advanced Course will take the students into greater depth in analysing the complex problem space and identifying the multiple dimensions and their co-evolutionary dynamics. This is a technique normally used with the ‘problem owners’, i.e. usually the Board of the organisation or a cross section representing the organisation. The researcher then becomes a facilitator to take the participants through the process.

The process can uncover issues of great anxiety to the organisation and the facilitator must have the awareness and experience to take the participants through a difficult phase in identifying and understanding the deep rooted causalities of the challenges they are facing. The organisation cannot address those challenges effectively without understanding the ‘problem space’. Trying to reach ‘solutions’ to complex problems, by only understanding the obvious surface symptoms, does not work. It just wastes a great deal of time, effort, money and resources.
By reaching that deeper understanding, the organisation is able to co-create an Enabling Environment that will effectively address the challenges.

Complex problems do not, and cannot, have single or simple solutions which effectively address the problem over time, as they are only relevant under a set of conditions, which will change with time. Enabling Environments on the other hand include an enabling infrastructure, the skills and resources, which will address the problem sustainably as it changes over time.

The Advanced Course in 2020 will train participants in this very sophisticated Multi-Dimensional Analysis. It helps the problem owners not only to identify the multiple dimensions (social, cultural, political, economic, technical, physical, etc.) in the problem space, but also to experience the holistic nature of the challenge. To be addressed effectively, complex problems need to be seen holistically, not only within a single organisation, but also within the broader industrial and economic context. However, it is not enough to simply enumerate the dimensions and related issues, as this can lead to analysis paralysis. The next step in the EMK Complexity Methodology is the critical breakthrough, which enables organisations to take action in order to effectively address a complex problem.

Once the multiple dimensions have been listed, the next step is to identify the critical co-evolving clusters; these are clusters of dimensions and related issues, which are strongly inter-connected. They are identified by asking how an intervention or change in any one issue, would impact other related issues in other dimensions. Asking, what would the consequences be? Co-evolution is reciprocal influence, which changes the behaviour of the interacting entities and the co-evolving clusters are those which will be reciprocally impacted by a change.  A simple version of identifying the critical co-evolving clusters, using common themes, was part of the training of the 2018 and 2019 2-week courses.

Two or three critical co-evolving clusters are enough to start the next part of the process and to address the complex problem space. The 2020 participants will be taken through the process of how to prepare for the enabling environment by addressing the key critical co-evolving clusters at multiple scales (individual, group, organisational).

This method of analysis will provide the participants with a powerful tool they will be able to use after completing the course. Since this is not an easy process, EMK will offer continuing guidance to students after the completion of the course, if they wish to use it in practice.

*The Booking Deadline gives us an accurate idea of course participant numbers at approximately 6 weeks before the course is due to run, at which point we confirm the course, add additional time for people to book on or cancel the course. We encourage people to register early for courses as places are limited.

With Eve Mitleton-Kelly
Eve Mitleton-Kelly

Eve Mitleton-Kelly

Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly is a Fellow in the Engineering Department at Cambridge University (2017-); was Founder and Director of the Complexity Research Programme at the London School of Economics (1995-2017); visiting Professor at the Open University; member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems (2012-2014); SAB member of the ‘Next Generation Infrastructures Foundation’, TU Delft; on Editorial Board  of ‘Emergence: Complexity & Organisations’; Policy Advisor to European and USA organisations, the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the UN OCHA and UNEP, several UK Government Departments; an Indonesian Government Agency on deforestation; Scientific Advisor to the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Singapore and UK.

Eve’s research has concentrated on addressing apparently intractable problems at organisational, national and global levels and the creation of enabling environments based on complexity science. She has led, and participated in 45 research projects funded by the EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, the European Commission, business and government to address complex problems. She has developed a theory of Complex Social Systems and a methodology to address complex problems. She has edited, co-edited and co-authored 6 books and has written extensively on the application of complexity theory to address complex problems. Her latest edited volume, the ‘Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science: Theory and Applications’ was published by Edward Elgar in January 2018. It includes 26 chapters written by over 50 international authors. The chapter by Eve, describes the EMK Methodology that will be taught on the course. One case study, with the Rabin Medical Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICu), was presented at the International Complexity Conference ICCS2018 in Thessaloniki, Greece in September 2018. The sponsor, senior physician and senior nurse from the ICu, presented the practical impact of the Multi-Dimensional Workshop with nurses and physicians, which took place in March 2018.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

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