Don't be alarmed by the picture, we can tackle complexity like this by being more human.

Jo and David from Totally Socially had an inspiring afternoon at the launch of the Exploring the New World report at Northumbria University on 21 May.

The report, written by Toby Lowe from Northumbria University and Dawn Plimmer from Collaborate CIC, outlines how a rapidly growing number of funders, commissioners and service deliverers are developing new ways to contribute to the development of positive social outcomes.  

Take any complex social issue and attempt to map the factors that contribute to it and the chances are that you will come up with something like the picture above (this one relates to obesity). And the bad news is that the picture (headache inducing as it is) is just a snapshot - the reality is constantly moving and changing. 

To quote from the report summary:

"People are complex, everyone's life is different, everyone's strengths and needs are different.

The issues we care about are complex: issues - like homelessness - are tangled and interdependent.

The systems that respond to these issues are complex: the range of people and organisations involved in creating 'outcomes' in the world are beyond the management control of any person or organisation.   

We have to start to find ways in which we can start to work in ways that embrace this complexity and the report sets out a Human, Learning, Systems approach.

Human because people who work in these ways use the language of 'being human' to describe what they do.

Learning because people who work in these ways speak about learning and adaptation.

Systems because people working in these ways recognise that the outcomes they care about are produced by whole systems rather than individuals, organisations or programmes."  

A bite size version of the Executive Summary is here and you can also find out more at our A Whole New World event on 18 July.