Section 4: Alternative analysis

Section 4: Alternative analysis

“Introduction … Problem diagram and alternatives”
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Summaries

  • Step 4: Alternative analysis > Problem diagram and alternatives > Video problem diagram and alternatives

Step 4: Alternative analysis > Problem diagram and alternatives > Video problem diagram and alternatives

  • Hello there! In this video, we are going to create a clear and complete overview of the complex problem situation we analyze.
  • It makes a meeting with them and talking about the complex problem situation so much easier.
  • In the last few videos, you have encountered several problem analysis-techniques.
  • We started by making an actor analysis, then we defined problem statements for all actors involved.
  • So we have wonderful material, but how do we relate it so it can help to get a complete overview of the complex problem situation we analyse? We started our complex problem analysis with identifying actors involved.
  • One of these actors we considered the owner of the problem.
  • It can be you, analysing your own complex problem situation.
  • You can also be the manager or consultant who works for a client and that client is the problem owner.
  • By talking to all the actors and asking them many questions, you constructed problem statements for all of them.
  • At the bottom of all these goal trees we found the criteria on the basis of which all potential solutions to your complex problem situation will be compared to each other later on in the analysis.
  • As the criteria represent those elements in the problem field that all actors involved find important, it becomes very interesting to know what factors influence these criteria.
  • Therefore we made our problem field, that is, the complex situation we are analysing, more explicit by representing it in relevant factors.
  • They are an important source of uncertainty in our complex problem situation.
  • The diagram that we have now created defines the problem area.
  • In other words, what actions can an actor take that influence our complex problem situation such that the criteria will change in the desired direction? We do this in two ways.
  • It might be something that adds to solving your complex problem.
  • What we have created now is called a problem diagram.
  • If well-constructed, it contains all the basic elements every actor needs to know about the problem.
  • When I think of using a system or problem diagram I go back to my experiences as a practicing policy analyst.
  • What I often got called into, were messy situations, where some people, some stakeholders, came up with solutions, they wanted to implement a plan that they had. Others were talking about problems.
  • In those situations, the problem diagram, working it out, was extremely helpful in order to connect things to each other.
  • To think about, OK, what are the problems, what are the criteria, what are the gaps between the wishes and the actual situation, what are the means or alternatives and how do they relate to the criteria? What are exogenous factors? In my experience, doing that systematic problem analysis helped a lot to get a story that would be accepted by all and would also be consistent.
  • This time for the problem diagram, you just heard Alexander and Wil talk about.
  • This is, as you might remember, Helens causal diagram representing her complex problem situation.
  • Her personal problem statement is how to throw a good party, without causing too much nuisance.
  • Now let’s look for alternatives for Helen’s complex problem situation.
  • When these actions do that, they can be a potential solution or a partial solution to the problem.
  • This means that in this case, Helen must ask herself the question: How can I change: the amount of guests, the attention on Facebook, the number of consumed beverages, the number of drunk guests, the inside noise level, or how can I directly change, the number of satisfied guests, or the outside noise level? The possible answers to all these questions are the many potential solutions, i.e. the many alternatives for solving the complex problem at hand.
  • Looking at the problem in a group setting is very useful.
  • Everyone in the group will have a different experience, expertise and viewpoints on the complex problem situation.
  • Hi everybody, time for action again! Before you start working on your own case, I suggest to study section 2.5 in your book When you have studied that, design a problem diagram for your own problem situation.
  • Start from the actors, their criteria and the causal diagram.
  • Finally a few common mistakes we all make when constructing problem diagrams.
  • In a problem diagram it is essential that you combine all analysis that you have carried out so far.
  • Dilemmas from problem statements should come back in your goal trees.
  • It is not at all that difficult to make a good problem diagram.
  • Suddenly, creating a problem diagram becomes much more complex.
  • Most common is that the criteria in the problem diagram do not originate from the goal trees you made earlier The same happens with the alternatives.
  • You have also made a few combinations of alternatives, which should now be in your problem diagram.
  • Doing nothing in a problem situation sounds like a crazy solution.

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