In this three part series I‘ve classified the evolving landscape of knowledge management into three categories. The first category is Leveraging Explicit Knowledge and is about capturing documented knowledge and building it into a collection - connecting people to content. The second category is about Leveraging Experiential Knowledge and it gave rise to communities of practice and reflection processes. It is primarily focused on connecting people to people. The third category is Leveraging Collective Knowledge and it is about integrating ideas from multiple perspectives. Its medium is conversation in both its virtual and face-to-face forms.
Although I have suggested dates for each category, the dates are intended to represent the rise of new thinking about organizational knowledge, not necessarily when those changes occurred within any organization. In each section I identified some of the authors that have led the new thinking. My premise is that KM professionals, who read these books and blogs, are influenced by this thinking and then use those ideas to create new KM strategies within organizations.
I speak to the third category in this post. I lived through part one and two thus have some confidence in the summation I wrote for each. For part three, I am in the midst of the journey, as we all, and dealing with the changes as they arise. It is harder to get a perspective on a conceptual frame in the midst of a change than it is to look backward – but here goes.
Leveraging Collective Knowledge
Collective knowledge is not a new term to knowledge management, but in the past it has been used in an additive sense, as in “all the knowledge an organization has.” I am using it in quite a different sense here, to mean the knowledge that is derived from the confluence of diverse perspectives and data from across an organization and that is brought to bear on important organizational issues. But unlike the hierarchical process of passing everyone’s ideas and data up the chain of command to someone at the top who would then made sense of them, with collective knowledge the sensemaking is done jointly by those who hold those many perspectives and who own the data. It is the joint sensemaking that is a hallmark of Leveraging Collective Knowledge.
A second hallmark of Leveraging Collective Knowledge is that the knowledge that results from joint sensemaking is created or constructed. Unlike scientific truths, which are there all along, just waiting to be uncovered, collective knowledge does not exist before the conversation that gave rise to it. It would be a mistake to think of this knowledge, constructed through sensemaking, as being the right answer because collective knowledge is continually being adjusted as new data and new patterns in the data come to light. Collective knowledge is not a definitive answer, rather it is understanding that is adequate for the organization to plan and take its next action.
Just as all organizational knowledge cannot be thought of as explicit or experiential, not all knowledge can be thought of as collective knowledge. Collective knowledge is simply another type of knowledge that we as knowledge professionals need to be able to address under specific circumstances. There are three factors that are creating the need to add a focus on collective knowledge to the existing types of knowledge organizations already attend to:
• Dealing with increasingly complex issues
• Erosion of cognitive authority
• Failure to apply knowledge management to the work processes of top and middle management
What these three factors call for from knowledge management professionals in response is the:
• Inclusion of cognitively diverse perspectives
• Integration of the organization’s knowledge, and
• Increased transparency
I will start by describing the three factors that are moving us toward Leveraging Collective Knowledge and then turn to the responses that are emerging.
Dealing with increasingly complex issuesThe need for Leveraging Collective Knowledge arises out of the increasing complexity that organizations face. Globalization, the speed of technological change, and the accessibility of information all impact the level of complexity and increases the number and diversity of players that must be taken into account in many organizational actions.
With increased complexity organizations have to deal with issues for which there are no scientific answers, and often are not even past experiences to draw upon. Heifetz calls these issues, adaptive challenges. Many other theorists (1) have written about such challenges, calling them variously, wicked problems, messes, and puzzles. For simplicity I will use Heifetz’s terms here, adaptive challenges and technical problems.
Characteristics of adaptive challenges are 1) their unpredictability, 2) the lack of agreement on exactly what the problem is, and 3) differing views about what constitutes an acceptable solution. Examples of adaptive challenges are, organizations that have merged and now must create a new and joint culture; hospital systems faced with an interminable nursing shortage; the anticipated retirement of thousands of workers in the government sector; and companies that, in order to survive, must change from selling products to service.
Heifetz contrasts adaptive challenges with technical problems that are predictable and solvable. Technical problems can be addressed by methods and tools that the organization has already developed. If, for example, a well is to be dug in a new oil field, there are established procedures; if a special issue of a journal is to be published, there are steps outlined that will put the issue out on schedule and within budget; if a new cell phone is to be developed, there are well defined phases of the development process. Technical problems have a solution that can be objectively evaluated as right or wrong, which adaptive challenges lack. Technical problems do not require a fundamental change in methods or tools. More importantly, the people who solve technical problems can function within a known set of assumptions about how work gets done in the organization, as well as what kind of behaviors are needed to make that work happen.
With adaptive challenges existing assumptions, methods, and tools are useless. They may even get in the way. Dealing with the complexity of adaptive challenges requires altered assumptions, different methods, and yet to be invented tools. And beyond that, adaptive challenges often necessitate that employees learn and practice new behaviors. Because they are so difficult, many adaptive challenges remain unresolved for years. In some organizations each successive senior management team repeatedly invents solutions for the challenge – solutions that the rest of the organization is unable to implement.
In most organizations KM efforts have been successful in solving technical problems using the processes developed for Leveraging Explicit Knowledge and Leveraging Experiential Knowledge. However KM professionals are becoming aware that there are critical organizational issues that these processes are not effective in addressing. GM is a good example. GM had an excellent KM program that resulted in significant process improvement but did not deal with the very complex issues that brought GM down. For KM professionals to deal with the strategic issues of organizations, they need a very different set of knowledge management tools.
The Erosion of Cognitive AuthorityWithin organizations and more generally in society, we have experienced an erosion of cognitive authority, that is, a reduction in the belief that those in positions of authority have some understanding or capability that the rest of us lack - that they have knowledge we can trust. We have certainly had adequate justification for this erosion; in medicine - the increasingly awareness of medical errors; in religion - the sex scandals in the Catholic Church; in politics - senators who break the public trust; and of course, in the field of management - CEOs who have shown they had neither the interest of stockholders nor employees at heart.
We have paid CEOs huge salaries, justified in large part by the belief that they had some unique knowledge that the rest of us did not have – a belief in the hero leader who alone would make a difference to an organization’s success. Since 2000 that assumption has increasingly been called into question. Ken Lay (Enron), Bernard Ebbers (WorldCom), William Aramony (United Way), Bernie Madoff (Cohmad Securities Corp), and a host of others have shown us that not only the justification for huge salaries was misplaced, but even among CEO’s whose integrity is unquestioned, there is the growing recognition that, as individuals, they lack adequate knowledge to deal with the complexity of organizational issues.
Failure To Apply Knowledge Management To the Work Processes of Top And Middle ManagementKnowledge management processes have largely been focused on the frontline. Middle management for the most part has been ignored, as has senior management. These levels have had few, if any, processes designed to learn from each other or through reflection.
We, as knowledge management professionals, have somehow assumed senior leadership did not need to be concerned about how effective their own knowledge processes were. It is as though their positions somehow made them immune from the needs that were so clearly evident in the frontline. The role senior leadership has played in knowledge management has primarily been to provide the resources needed to apply knowledge management to the frontline, but not to itself.
Yet many of our greatest organizational problems have occurred because accurate knowledge did not flow upward and because senior leaders withheld knowledge from those at the frontline. The inclination of employees to withhold or delay bad news and to distort the seriousness of problems is well known. Likewise the tendency of senior management to withhold knowledge from employees out of concern that it will distract them or reduce morale is all too familiar. The historical examples are legion, from Watergate to the Challenger disaster to Enron. Detert and Edmondson note, “Small, everyday failures [to speak up] have the potential to substantially harm organizational performance, especially when weaknesses in internal processes or changes in the environment go unnoticed.” These are knowledge management issues that knowledge management professionals have only now begun to address through Leveraging Collective Knowledge.
The Challenges KM Professional Face in Leveraging Collective Knowledge
As we move into this third category of knowledge management, Leveraging Collective Knowledge, KM professionals are faced with the reality of 1) a lack of tools and permission to address the knowledge issues of top and middle management, 2) increasingly complex organizational problems that existing KM processes cannot impact, and 3) a general loss of belief that management has answers to address the complex issues facing organizations – formidable challenges.
However, as in the past when KM professionals have faced new challenges, new ideas to deal with these issues have already begun to emerge. Theorist and leading thinkers are writing about these issues and about what needs to change to address them. The terms that are appearing with enough frequency to portent the future of KM are cognitive diversity, integration, transparency and the term that connects all three, conversation.
In leading edge organizations we see knowledge management professionals focusing on the:
• Inclusion of cognitively diverse perspectives
• Integration of the organization’s knowledge, and
• Increased transparency
Inclusion of cognitively diverse perspectivesThe good news is that there is knowledge to address the complex, adaptive challenges that organizations are facing. The bad news is that the needed knowledge does not lie within the hierarchical structure, which is too limited in perspective to resolve such issues. What is required to address adaptive challenges is cognitive diversity, which by definition lies outside of any organizational stovepipe and often even outside of the organization’s boundaries.
It may seem odd to address problems of complexity by adding more complexity, but the much quoted principle of requisite variety holds as true now as when Ashby first stated it some fifty years ago; “The internal diversity of any self-regulating system must match the variety and complexity of its environment if it is to deal with the challenges posed by that environment.”
Scott Page, in his book, The Difference, distinguishes cognitive diversity from identity diversity. The latter is related to race, age, and gender; the former is about differences in perspective, interpretation, heuristics, and predictive models and it is the former that is required. Bringing cognitive diversity to an adaptive challenge means involving divisions that may be only tangentially related to the issue, as well as customers, suppliers, academics, and others external to the organization. Putting the best minds within a division on an adaptive challenge does not resolve those challenges because the people within the division share a similar way of thinking.
Page cites InnoCentive as an example of using cognitive diversity to address complex issues. InnoCentive is a kind of match-making organization that brings together complex problems that organizations very much want solved, with people who think they might be able to solve them. InnoCentive claims to make available “160,000 of the brightest minds to help you build a better product.” Organizations that pose problems pay only for success, but offer the innovators who do find solutions five to six figure rewards for their successes. The problems that InnoCentive posts are so difficult that only a third of them are ever solved, however Page notes that when they are solved it is because innovators, from several disciples, e.g. chemist, biologist, biophysics, work together on the problem. If the problems were solvable from a single perspective, then the organizations that pose the problems would have already found a solution.
KM Professional’s Role in Addressing Cognitive DiversityOne of the important new tasks of knowledge management professionals is to encourage the use of greater cognitive diversity in addressing adaptive challenges. That task begins with helping managers recognize the difference between technical problems and adaptive challenges and then educating them about the knowledge processes that most effectively addresses each. Heifetz’s book, Leadership Without Easy Answers is a good place to start as is his new book The Practice of Adaptive Leadership.
The value of cognitive diversity has been popularized in a number of books the most scholarly of which is probably Scott Page’s, The Difference, and the more readable, The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki.
There are a multitude of organizational examples of bringing cognitive diversity to complex issues of which InnoCentive is just one. Other well known examples are, Threadless, Wikipedia, IBM’s Innovation Jams, Netflix Prize, Linux, The Open Prosthetics Project. MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence has identified 250 examples of collective intelligence. The Center has an excellent white paper which lays out a framework that details when to use what type of crowdsourcing.
To Leverage Collective Knowledge just having cognitive diversity in the room, whether virtual or face-to-face, is not enough. To create out-of–the-box thinking there must be some way to integrate the cognitively diverse perspectives – and that comes down to conversation. It is the give and take - the challenge and questioning - among people who are cognitively diverse that creates new knowledge. Johnson and Johnson (see Bringing the Flow of Knowledge to a Standstill by Speaking with Conviction), researchers who study collaboration, say that the synthesis of diverse perspectives comes from being able to hold both one’s own and others’ perspectives in mind at the same time. That necessarily means there has been enough conversation that each person understands the perspective of others well enough to have an intelligent dialogue about the different interpretations of the problem.
Conversation itself hardly needs defining. We have all been a part of many conversations where each of the parties involved is trying to understand the meaning that others are trying to convey. We don’t need training to hold that kind of in-depth conversation, but in spite of our natural ability, such conversations are rare in organizations. Roles, positions, organizational norms, formats for meetings, even physical space, all work against having the kind of conversations we need to have to integrate knowledge from diverse perspectives. What is needed in order to break the unproductive conversational patterns of the status quo is new conversational formats.
Integration of the organization’s knowledgeConvening the conversation that brings diverse perspectives together is a leadership task. Pascale, author of Surfing the Edge of Chaos says, “In such an environment, the task of leadership is to frame the challenge and characterize it in such a way that creates immediacy. Leadership must then draw the community that is affected into tackling the new challenge. By definition, leadership in these situations does not have ‘the answer’; it typically emerges piece by piece from the community as a whole.”
Convening the conversation in order to integrate the knowledge (see The Power of the Conversation Architect to Address Complex, Adaptive Challenges) involves four important leadership tasks:
1. Framing the question –
Framing the topic of the conversation requires posing a question rather than a solution. The question needs to be one that gets to heart of the issue, not just its symptoms. That may require the convener to name the “elephant in the room” – the issue that everyone knows about but no one talks about.
2. Configuring the physical space to serve the conversation-
Most large conference spaces are designed for speeches not conversation. Even conference rooms within most organizations’ walls tend to be furnished with rectangular tables that are more suitable for negotiation or adversarial discussions than conversation.
3. Identifying who needs to be in the conversation -
In considering who to bring together, organizations tend to err on the side of homogeneity rather than diversity. Thinking broadly about who impacts and is impacted by the topic of the conversation is one way to broaden cognitive diversity.
4. Design the interaction
The rule of thumb is that 80% of the time those who have come together should be in conversation with each other, leaving only 20% of the time for presentations and speeches. A design that alternates between small group and large group conversations is the most productive for integrating the organization’s knowledge.
Convening the conversation rather than providing the answer is a new and somewhat problematic role for leadership. Business schools and training programs teach managers that their task is problem solving, so to view themselves as conveners rather than problem solvers is a considerable adjustment.
The story I told in a recent post about Ecopetrol is an example of convening the conversation. Ecopetrol’s president, Javier Gutiérrez convened a two and a half day meeting of 200 people to develop a knowledge strategy for Ecopetrol. With the help of some savvy KM Professionals, Ecopetrol brought together a wealth of cognitive diversity in the form of representatives from companies that were known to have outstanding KM strategies.
None of the many representatives presented for more than 15 minutes. The conference as a whole followed the 80/20 rule with eighty percent of the time spent in small group discussion, first in a Knowledge Café format and then using Open Space Technology. President Gutiérrez was in attendance for the whole of the meeting, but not as the authority with a solution, rather as a participant in the many small group conversations where new ideas were being formed. His voice was one perspective among many that came together to create the final strategy. Like the President, all those from other companies who presented also were engaged in the small group conversations, where the real work of dealing with this adaptive challenge began to develop.
In my own study for DIA looking at A-Space (a FaceBook-like social media) I describe the way analysts interact with their colleagues to test their own theories and modify their interpretations through on-line conversations they hold in the many workspaces they generate themselves. A-Space and Intelliipedia are making use of the cognitive diversity that exists across the sixteen US Intelligence Agencies to address the adaptive challenges the intelligence community faces much more effectively than any that single agency could do.
True to the concepts of Leveraging Collective Knowledge, Wertheimer, the Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytic Transformation & Technology, convened the on-line conversation by providing the software and support, and by thinking carefully about who to invited into the conversation, but not by telling the analysts what kind of conversation to have.Convening the conversation takes place both through social media and in face-to-face meetings. Social Media alone will not serve to integrate the organization’s knowledge, because that would disregard the many hundreds of staff meetings, townhalls, and team meetings that occur within organizations where frequently it is adaptive challenges that are being addressed. Those meetings, as well, need to be designed in terms of 1) framing the question, 2) configuring the space, 3) identifying who needs to be in the conversation, and 4) designing the interaction. It will surely become too confusing to organizational members to experience the inclusion of cognitive diversity and joint sensemaking through the internal use of social media, yet within the walls of headquarters to still sit in meetings where managers think they alone must solve all the complex problems facing their units.
KM Professionals’ Role in Integrating Organizational KnowledgeIf the leadership task is to convene the conversation, then KM professionals’ task is to help leadership design the meetings, retreats, and conferences, so that they fully leverage collective knowledge. Without assistance such gatherings invariably become a series of speeches or report outs with little conversation to integrate organizational knowledge. KM professionals are employing a number of well-tested designs to help leadership convene conversations.
Peter Block in his book Community speaks eloquently about both the need for conversation and the skill of convening it. In the post, Four Conversations to Address Adaptive Challenges, I outline some of his thinking.
There are, as well, a host of well-defined formats for large group face-to-face meetings such as the one I described at Ecopetrol. I have listed a few here, but it is by no means a comprehensive list.
• Knowledge Café is a conversational format where participants move from café table to café table, dealing with a significant question and gaining perspective on the issue as they encounter different ways of thinking about it. There are a number of versions of this conversational format including the World Café (Juanita Brown & David Isaacs) and the Knowledge Café David Gurteen, who has specialized this practice within knowledge management.
• Future Search is a structured participatory process where organizational members work in groups to scan through the turbulent environments facing the organization for desired outcomes and then generate a strategy for achieving the outcome they have selected. Future Search was developed by Weisbord and Janoff. There are other versions of this process including Real Time Strategic Change developed by Dannemiller Tyson.
• Unconference creates a market place of ideas where anyone can offer a topic for a small working group and participants select to participate in the topic of greatest interest to themselves. In this way the Unconference is self organizing. It is based on the concepts of Open Space Technology originally developed by Harrison Owens. In 2009, 500 people working with social media in the U.S. government, came together to hold the Government 2.0 Social Media Un-conference.
• Appreciative Inquiry is a methodology developed by David Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve. It brings the organization together using interviewing to identify examples of where people have already resolved the complex issue the inquiry is addressing, and then in conversation groups makes sense of why those examples appear to be working and finally finds ways to build on what was discovered through sensemaking.
Increased transparencyThere can be no integration without transparency. Unless everyone, who is jointly attempting to make sense of an adaptive challenge, has access to the data and perspectives of others, there is no way to integrate those perspectives. If leadership convenes the conversation, but does not reveal issues like a pending merger or a plan to sell a division of the organization, any attempt to address the adaptive challenge will fail. Likewise if frontline employees are unwilling to reveal the problems and failures they have faced in completing their tasks, the attempt at integration will fail. One of the benefits of using tested formats for such meetings is that they establish an environment conductive to disclosure.
For a senior leader to convene a conversation about an adaptive challenge requires that that he/she be willing to acknowledge, “I don’t have the answer.” That is what Ecopetrol’s president acknowledged by convening the strategy meeting and by participating in it as a member. During the second era, Leveraging Experiential Knowledge, we achieved a kind of transparency between frontline peers. It became acceptable for peers participating in community forums to say, “Does anybody know…..” a tacit acknowledgement that “I don’t know.”
The willingness to ask for the ideas of others constitutes a kind of learning in public. Rather than being embarrassed about one’s lack of knowledge, it is okay to reveal it, knowing that in doing so others in the community will learn as well. Moreover there is a sense of reciprocity that comes from knowing that in another situation, one’s own knowledge will ask be asked for and given.
But there has been no such forum for CEOs or their leadership teams to acknowledge a lack of knowledge in a public way. More typically leaders express concern that being seen as not having an answer lessens their credibility with subordinates. What is needed now is a way for leaders at all levels to re-define their role as convener.
Social media holds great promise for creating transparency. Research indicates that people are more honest about their ideas and concerns when communicating over digital media, than they are in face-to-face situations. In many organizations, organizational members use blogs to talk about their concerns and ideas openly. Because a blog is, by definition, the writer’s own opinion about an issue, much of the need to be politically correct is removed. Where an employee might not send a criticism up through the chain of command, it may seem acceptable to discuss it in a blog or on twitter. And leaders as well are finding ways to test their ideas through blogs and using the comments to expand their thinking. For example, in a recent post on the SiKM list serve, John Hovell of ManTech International Corporation, noted that when ManTech’s new President/COO, who had just come on board, held his first all hands' meeting at Corporate HQ there was a flurry of conversation on Yammer around his vision, strategic direction(s), and the tactical approach.
The US Army has actively encouraged blogging to increase transparency. On MilBlogs alone there are over 2000 blogs written by soldiers – making the military much more transparent.
KM Professional’s Role in Increasing TransparencyKM Professionals need to support the internal use of social media (wikis, twitter, blogs, Facebook, communites) to increase the cognitive diversity brought to adaptive challenges and to increase transparency across the organization.
They need to help leadership understand how social media brings value and the need to allow it grow organically rather than placing requirements or demands on those who use it. The success of social media lies in the conversations that arise out of a personal or team need to engage in a discussion about a particular topic. Even requiring people to join violates the implicit cultural contract to some extent and certainly attempting to control the content is counterproductive. As countless organizations have discovered that requiring people to share their knowledge only results in getting knowledge of questionable value
KM professionals can add value by conducting comprehensive and frequent analyzes of what is being said through social media in order to identify issues (elephants in the room) that are adaptive challenges that need to be addressed. And then making these analyzes available to senior leaders so they can convene the conversation. However, it is also possible for KM professionals to take the initiative to convene needed conversations as a way to demonstrate the value to be gained.
Finally, it would be useful to help managers and senior leaders find or build a community in which admitting a lack of knowledge does not threaten their authority. There are numerous roundtables where this is possible as well as coaching relationships.
The New of Tasks Knowledge Management Professional in Leveraging Collective Knowledge
What has always intrigued me about being a knowledge management professional is our expanding comprehension of what we need to take into account as organizational knowledge. Over the last fifteen years we have continually extended and broadened that understanding. In the first category, we saw knowledge as stable truths based on scientific evidence and we built systems to insure that experts provided needed answers to the frontline workers in our organizations. In the second category we expanded organizational knowledge to include the practical knowledge learned from experience and we built COPs and reflection processes to effectively uncover and transfer that knowledge between frontline workers. And now, moving into the third category we again find ourselves adding to the kinds of knowledge that are critical for organizations to deal with, now to include collective knowledge.
This chart lays out the knowledge management assumptions of each category. All three sets of assumptions are accurate and all are needed. But as our understanding has expanded, we have had to create new tools and processes to address the new type of knowledge we have incorporated. I have tried to avoid speaking of these three categories as eras, because we have not dropped any of the types of knowledge along the way. All remain necessary for knowledge management.
It each column it is the assumptions we make that guide the processes we create. As we attempt to deal with the challenges brought on by increasingly complex issues, the erosion of cognitive authority, and the failure to apply KM principles to the work processes of top and middle management, it is this set of assumptions (assuming I’ve got them right) that will guide us toward constructing the new processes we need.
Summary of Tasks for KM professionals
I’ve summarized the tasks here that I discussed more fully above. I recognize that these tasks are very different from much of the current work of KM professionals, but that has been so with each category. Those who were focused on building knowledge repositories were unsettled by having to learn how to build and support communities of practice, when Leveraging Experiential Knowledge became important.
• If the leadership task is to convene the conversation to address adaptive challenges, then KM professionals’ task is to help leadership design the meetings, retreats, or conferences, based on principles of collective knowledge.
• Encourage leadership to invite customers, suppliers, partners and other externals into the conversations to address adaptive challenges. The organizational tendency is to err on the side of homogeneity. Provide examples of other organizations that have benefited from involving externals.
• Support the internal use of social media in order to increase the cognitive diversity brought to adaptive challenges and to increase transparency across the organization
• Allow social media to grow organically rather than placing requirements or demands on those who use it.
• Conduct comprehensive and frequent analyzes of what is being said through social media. to identify issues (elephants in the room) that are adaptive challenges that need to be addressed. Make this analysis available to leadership. If leadership is not yet ready to convene conversations, KM professionals take the initiative to do so.
• Assist managers to design their regular meetings to be more conversational when they are facing adaptive challenges
• Help managers and senior leaders find or build a community.
The chart at the beginning of this post depicts the three categories along the knowledge management journey that I have talked about in these three posts. To incorporate collective knowledge we don’t have to give up on the scientific knowledge we have, or the experiential knowledge we have come to value, rather we have to accept that there are issues and problems which neither of those kinds of knowledge can address – which require collective knowledge.
There are four arrows at the bottom of the chart. The bottom three summarize the major changes we have experienced from KM’s beginning in the early 90’s to where we are as we move into the future.
• The movement from seeing learning as an individual’s task which is necessarily conducted in private to increasingly seeing learning as something that must take place in public. That there is benefit not only in the product of “having learned” but in the process of learning as well, because that is where new knowledge is created.
• The movement from a need to know to greater transparency. A recognition that knowledge cannot be segmented or walled off from those who are attempting to address the organization’s difficult issues – that everything is connected.
• The movement from seeing management as controlling what content people have access to, to users control of the content that is critical to their needs.
1. Many others have made a similar distinction, Reg Revans cite wrote about the difference between problems and puzzles in a similar vane. Puzzles, he said were problems about which reasonale men could disagree.” Jeff Conklin, in "Wicked Problems and Social Complexity"differentiates wicked and tame problems. Ackoff says,“managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situations messes"