Participatory Action Research, a Systems Perspective and the Formerly Incarcerated

Claudia Cohen, Teachers College, Columbia University

20-outcomes-star ClaudiaOver the last 5 years, I have led several Participatory Action Research (PAR) projects in partnership with a Community Based Organization (CBO) in NYC that provides wraparound services and supportive housing to formerly incarcerated men and women. The PAR paradigm embodies a systems perspective with its inclusive approach to both research processes and team membership. It privileges both the experiential lived experience of those who are most impacted by the research as well as the research guidelines and tools that academic researchers contribute; the research team is comprised of members with both kinds of backgrounds (please see Note 1). Continue reading

Resonance, Conflict and Systems Change

Peter T. Coleman, Kyong Mazzaro, Nick Redding, Roi Ben-Yehuda, Danny Burns and Jay Rothman

In preparation for the DST lab in Hawaii in 2014, a team including Peter T. Coleman, shutterstock water ripples_18248563Kyong Mazzaro, Nick Redding, Roi Ben-Yehuda, Danny Burns, Andrea Bartoli, Aldo Civico, Aubrey Yee, and Jay Rothman embarked on a project to clarify and better specify what experts working on peace and conflict referred to as resonance, a process that many of the team members saw as involving the identification, fostering and marshaling of motivation and energy in networks of people in service of change. Continue reading

Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) Web Portal

Peter T. Coleman, Josh Fisher, Nick Redding, Kyong Mazzaro, Chris Straw and Meredith Smith, AC4, Columbia University

DST-page-(cool-color)v3 dstTo share and promote efforts in applying a dynamical systems approach to addressing intractable conflict and promoting sustainable peace and social change, the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4), a center within the Earth Institute at Columbia University, has developed an informational portal titled The Project on Dynamical Systems, Peace, Conflict and Social Change. The portal, currently housed within the AC4 website, provides background on ‘Why DST?’ with updates on research at the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR), applied projects such as AC4’s work with Continue reading

Advanced Dynamical Systems Theory Training

Peter Coleman, Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Josh Fisher, Nick Redding, Kyong Mazzaro, Chris Straw and Meredith Smith, Columbia University

mapThe Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4), the Morton Deutsch International Center on Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR) and the Masters program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution are developing a four-course certificate program for conflict resolution students and practitioners in applying the dynamical systems theory approach. The intensive sequence will include an introductory, advanced, field work, and train-the-trainer modules preparing participants to engage adaptively with clients in a variety of complex social environments and to train others in employing the Dynamical Systems Theory of Practice (DSToP) framework and methodologies. Continue reading

Difficult conversations, complex thinking and constructive conversations

Peter T. Coleman, Ljubica Chatman, Columbia University

Difficult Conversations Lab studies address the issue of intractable conflicts between people and aim to find ways for people to find common ground. Through facilitating conversations between people with polar opposite attitudes on broad moral issues, like abortion, we study the conditions and ways of thought that lead to constructive outcomes and convergence between discussants. Continue reading

Assessing Systems Thinking Competencies – Development of a Measure

Peter T. Coleman and Nick Redding, Columbia University

systems thinkingWe are currently developing an assessment tool for measuring individual systems thinking ability. Inspired by the works of Donella Meadows and others, this measurement tool will present individuals with a series of written scenarios depicting a “systems archetype” process in a social system. Participants will be asked to review the scenario, and then respond to a series of multiple choice questions regarding Continue reading

“In Sync” book project

Peter Coleman and Rob Ricigliano

Peter and Rob have started work on a new book, titled “In Sync”. The goal is to provide a general reader with a compelling introduction to systems thinking and underscore the importance of appropriately matching an engagement approach to the type of problem you are dealing with.   They will include guidance on distinguishing ‘clock’ versus ‘cloud’ (Karl Popper) problems.   Stories will be used to orient the reader to different problem orientations and potential pathologies if an inappropriate orientation is applied. Continue reading