Managing high-complexity problems through methodical participation: experiences with the Participatory Innovation Model

Alfredo del Valle (Dr)
07 October 2013

Present-day societies are flooded with high-complexity or 'wicked' problems in cities, sustainability, justice, poverty, education and many other fields. They involve large numbers of inter-dependent actors, issues, disciplines and cultures. The usual means applied to face them lack capacity (i.e., requisite variety), because of their reductionism and authoritarianism, and often make things worse.

The Participatory Innovation Model builds the required capacity through special concepts, methods and tools, which make high complexity understandable and manageable in practice; it does not involve modelling, but natural-language tools. Its grounds come from Ackoff, Ashby, Beer, Schein and Morin. It was developed in Chile over the past 35 years, has been validated through 70 experiences and is available for application and transfer.

Alfredo del Valle, its author, holds a Ph.D. in Social Systems Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked at universities, research centres, international agencies, business companies, government agencies and NGOs.