In preparation for a workshop on complexity that I am giving at EES 2022, I am preparing a list of questions whose answers could benefit from an understanding of complex behavior. Below is the list. If anyone has additions, let me know.
- Why is diverse intellectual input desirable?
- What theories of change underlie statistical thinking?
- When does it make sense to ignore complex behavior?
- How are sustainability and resistance to change similar?
- Why is tight coordination over broad activities so difficult?
- What explains the lopsided distribution of program benefits?
- How do top-down and bottom-up planning affect each other?
- What methodologies are needed to evaluate complex behavior?
- Why do programs seem to act as if they are creatures in an ecosystem?
- What are the ways in which “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”?
- What is the relationship between change at higher and lower levels of analysis?
- How to understand the robustness or fragility of a group of connected elements?
- Why do so many phenomena stay stable for so long and then change radically and suddenly?
- How do we know if we have reached a “new normal”, and how do we know if we are getting there?
- Are we better off with being very successful in one domain of change or moderately successful at many?
- Are we better off implementing a few very successful programs, or many somewhat successful ones?
- Why do funders keep implementing stovepiped solutions to problems that know have multiple causes?
- Why can’t we predict system behavior over a long timeframe? (And for that matter, what does “long” mean?)
- Why are constructs drawn from complexity important for understanding how programs operate and what consequences their actions have?
3 thoughts on “Questions That Could Benefit from an Understanding of Complexity”
Good list. Qs 2, 11 – 13 are particularly interesting to me. How long will your session be, and wil you discuss each question- particularly what one would have to do to answer it?
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It will be an all day workshop.
Nice to see you in the recent SETIG call. I just found out that months of Evaluation Uncertainty emails have been going into my junk email folder. Will try to rectify this.