Typology of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development
Tentative adaptation and development from related table on Characteristics of phases in learning / action cycles, derived from Arthur Young's Geometry of Meaning (1978). See commentary on learning cycles in Cycles of dissonance and resonance and below. See also alternative table based on clustering strategies and values. See also Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue; confidence ploys; Chinese strategems ; strategic dilemmas
("walking the talk"; "guts"; "being there")
Anthony Judge, with comments of Nadia McLaren and Allan Howard,
Rows: These distinguish between the 12 strategy types based on (1) knowledge of issues, (2) concern for issues, and (3) "being there" -- where the issues are hurting.
- Row 1 is primarily intellectual and detached from reality "on the ground" or "in the field", even if it is obliged to deal with it; a "concern" barrier must be passed to get into Row 2 strategies.
- Row 2 is concerned with, or involved with, grounded reality -- but without "being there"; a "grounding" barrier must be passed to get into Row 3 strategies.
- Row 3 is identified with grounded reality in some way; a "comprehension" barrier must be passed to get into Row 1 strategies (repeating the learning cycle within a larger framework) .
- Column A is primarily identifying and relating to issues (sensing them); an "intention" barrier must be passed to get into Column B.
- Column B is developing intentions with respect to the issues; an "action" barrier must be passed to get into Column C.
- Column C is engaging in action; a "continuity" barrier must be passed to get into Column D where the action can be rendered sustainable.
- Column D is ensuring that action is controlled and maintained knowledgeably; a "contextual" barrier, recognizing new feedback loops, must be passed to get into Column A (repeating the learning cycle within a larger framework).
The words used to describe each of the 12 individual strategy types are commonly encountered in describing strategies -- notably in the declarations of international organizations. The colour coded diagonals suggest a pattern of progressive engagement towards sustainable action "on the ground":
- Diagonal A1: Monitoring type strategy, frequently used as a preliminary to any other strategy, whether relating to massacres or environmental disasters. Response to many issues is often limited to this, notably by the academic community.
- Diagonal A2-B1: Acknowledgment of the issue and adaptive response to it. This has little effect "on the ground" but administrative and intellectual frameworks and procedures may be adjusted to take account of the issue.
- Diagonal A3-B2-C1: The issue evokes empathy (reassuring the victims), official warnings and calls for action, and initiation of patterns of response. This is typical of responses by the international community / media / local activist complex. New issues, including potential genocides, notably evoke strategies of type B2, namely "deploring", "protesting", etc by the international community -- possibly accompanied by "undertaking", and "initiating" strategies (type C1), but without significant follow-up.
- Diagonal B3-C2-D1: Concerns expressed on the preceding diagonal may lead to strategies of type B3, namely "resolving", "deciding", etc -- on the part bodies such as the UN Security Council. Decisions are taken, coalitions are formed, orders are given and supervisory structures are set up. This may be framed as effecting change, but this form of implementation typically lends itself to positive reporting on action taken with little awareness of whether this is effective "on the ground".
- Diagonal C3-D2: Enforcement becomes evident "on the ground" and coordination is ensured with respect to the continuity of the implementation process. Unfortunately the engagement is such that the "continuity" is essentially short-term and tends to be eroded and abandoned once attention passes to other issues. This is typical of many responses to issues that are momentarily in the public eye.
- Diagonal D3: Action becomes sustainable through building in procedures that guarantee long-term continuity based on appropriate attention to feedback loops. However any such form of grounded, sustainable action is itself challenged by unforeseen issues and feedback loops that may call for new kinds of issue detection and monitoring (Diagonal A1).
Meeting participation: It is also fruitful to see each of the 12 strategy types as reflecting the complementary views that need to be expressed at an archetypal strategic "roundtable" (Camelot style). The specific relationships between each such view have been tentatively explored in an earlier study on Toward a New Order of Meeting Participation (http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs/contract.php) that charts the Shadowy Roundtable Hidden within every Meeting. This endeavours to show how the seemingly "external" issues tend to be reflected in the different behaviour styles of meeting participants -- and the need for a new kind of participant contract to move beyond such constraints.
Torus representation: As implied above, the Row 1 strategies can also usefully be considered as bordering the Row 3 strategies -- by rolling the table into a cylinder. Similarly the Column A strategies can also be considered as bordering the Column D strategies -- by connecting the ends of the cylinder to form a torus. It is on the surface of this torus that the connectivities between the strategy types might be more appropriately comprehended. A possible representation of this structure, appropriately coloured, has been developed as a hypersphere to illustrate Arthur Young's insights (http://www.hypersphere.com/hs/abouths.html)
Individual action: The relevance of the above typology can also be explored in relation to individual or community group action. The status of a "New Year's Resolution" with respect to personal sustainable development is then clarified -- a demonstrates the nature of the challenge for international organizations inspired by its many Resolutions.