Exploring Quantitative Models for Sustainable Peace

Larry Liebovitch and others

Good attractor Larry peace mapI have been developing quantitative mathematical models based on the causal loops diagrams from the Sustainable Peace Systems Mapping Initiative coordinated by Columbia University’s AC4 and ICCCR. These mathematical models show how the variables of that model evolve in time and how different initial conditions (initial values of the variables) determine the final state Group B peace map(attractor) of the system. These models have properties typical of complex systems such as attractors and dependency on initial conditions. Future steps will be to determine how the values of the variables can be measured. A preliminary version of those results was presented at the Bloomberg Data for Social Good Conference.  Please go to http://www.bloomberg.com/company/d4gx/ for more information on the presentation at the conference.

Dynamical Systems Theory of Practice (DSToP)

Peter T. Coleman, Columbia University

DSToP model imageExpanding his work detailed in The Five Percent, Peter has outlined a Dynamical Systems Theory of Practice that incorporates the theoretical basis of applying complexity science to intractable conflict. In a pending paper Peter explains that the DSToP assumes the following:

  • Complexity matters: intractable attractors operate within a complex network of forces
  • Time matters: both linear and non-linear change dynamics operate in conflict systemsInclusion matters: given the equifinality of these conflict systems, more inclusive practices involving a broad and diverse set of stakeholders are likely more effective.
  • Emotion matters: despite their relative neglect in conflict research, emotions often play a vital role in sustaining and transforming intractable conflicts.
  • The system rules: intractable conflict systems have their own exceptionally strong internal propensities.

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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

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

Encouraging social change in tightknit communities – Computational Diagnostics and Assessment Tool (CDAT) project

Armando Geller, Scensei

ArmandoOut of the DST Innovation Lab 2014 workshop in Hawaii grew a project about instigating social change in tight-knit stakeholder communities. The challenge lies in the difficulties to understand the power structures and dynamics of the communities; identify proper interventions and figuring out how they may function; and anticipate desired and unintended consequences of these interventions. To address this challenge we designed a three-phased plan (baseline, modeling, assessment), relying on an innovative approach inspired by computational methods to policy design and implementation in sensitive contexts. Please contact us for further information at info@scensei.com.