Our fathers taught us how to play chess at an early age. We played game after game and the play was for real, not just fun. Our wins were always earned. We learned how to think ahead and anticipate, to prepare and position whatever the situation.
So, it’s not surprising that we were drawn to systems thinking. Ecology was Roger's field of study. The interactions of fish and wildlife with habitat and humans offered a limitless field of play for understanding complexities, detecting patterns, and fostering a balance among competing interests. Similarly, the interactions of people, policy, and practice drew Patrick to studies the fields of communications and story telling, philosophy, and government.
Such thinking at a systems level is fundamental to high impact strategy. It’s what we do, no matter the arena.
Typically, challenging situations improve by striking a better balance among competing needs or interests. Doing so depends on discovering fresh ways to view the challenge and organize assets and resources. This kind of discovery is at the root of all innovation – big and small.
So, workable solutions depend first on understanding all facets of a situation: Listening for facts as well as beliefs; Testing ideas and possible actions; and Learning from trials (and tribulations).
In this way, its easy for us to see ways you might transform challenges into opportunities.
Excuses abound for why new ideas won't work. But magic happens when people shift to a "how might we" mode of thinking. The key is "we" which broadens perspectives and increases the mix of available talent and resources.
We encourage collaboration because people working together toward a shared purpose can achieve things that none could ever do apart.
Collaboration is not about suspending self-interest; collaboration is about realizing goals by finding the most common denominator among allies.