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Social aspects

Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Think holistically about the situation and describe the emergent properties of the whole. What kind of effects or characteristics arises from the interplay between all the elements of this problem situation?

Describe the wider societal context and how different groups/stakeholders overlap/interact with each other. What kind of environment does this interaction create?

Describe the dynamics created by the mix of people/groups involved.

Some topics that can be useful to look into are:

  • Culture
  • Criminality, deviance, law and punishment
  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Family, gender, and sexuality
  • Health and illness
  • Internet and the web
  • Knowledge and science
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Military
  • Politics
  • Race and ethnic relations
  • Religion
  • Social networks
  • Psychology
  • Stratification, social layers and divide
  • Urban and rural sociology
  • Work and industry

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Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

In this section you can add articles that describe what we call the social fabric. The social fabric is a term used to describe how people are interwoven into a larger whole.

The social fabric is the basic structure of a society with all its customs and beliefs that make it work as a whole.

In this section we put emphasis on the social and psychological aspects rather than the physical constellations and structure of society.

In the step Setting we summarized the setting or what is going on. In this section we take this a bit further by describing the setting in a wider social context.

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What is the result of the social dynamics?


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What is the social fabric like? Add sub items if the articles grows longer than about 40 lines.



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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Use this sub section to add links to personal stories of individuals.

The personal story could be an written interview, a video or audio recording. Make sure it is a personal story of only one individual.

Consider adding stories of both people who suffer and from those who gain from the situation.

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Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

The stories added here are meant to give a personal and human touch to the problem.

These stories help to get a sense of the personal feelings and mindset of the people involved in the situation.

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Personal stories of individuals


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Add a personal story by one or several individuals.

  • The story should be down to earth, direct and the words of people in the middle sof the problem situation.

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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

What are the ambiguities, the disputes and disagreements? What are the conflicts of interest?

Write about current or past conflicts or tensions. What was the conflict about, who was involved, where and how?

Relevant questions to ask in order to identify sources of conflict:

  • How does ethics and morality cause tension?
  • What are the ethical dilemmas?
  • How do resources become sources of tension between people?
  • Are several stakeholders overusing the same resources?
  • How do dependencies become sources of tension? e.g. Dependence on item for livelihood, proximity to item, cultural linkages to item, pre-existing rights to item, knowledge related to stewardship of item.
  • How do people perceive the activities and attitudes of others?
  • What are the tensions related to distribution of wealth?
  • How do policies cause tension between people?
  • What tensions are there around policies etc.?

A few typical causes of conflict:

  • Resources
  • Styles
  • Roles
  • Values
  • Perceptions
  • Policies
  • Goals

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Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

In any problem situation there will be conflicts in the form of disagreements, conflict of interest, tensions, rivalry and on to more severe forms such as battles, clashes, strife etc.

This sub section helps to get an overview of what people are fighting over and how that is played out. Surfacing these conflicts is important to understand the people who eventually are the key to solving the problem.

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What are the conflicts or tensions?

Roma beggars and begging drug addicts are often in conflict because of fights over territory. Several violent episodes. Most Oslo residents are against begging by the Roma and find the situation rather uncomfortable. The conflict is very often heated and there is a general discontent. This continues to feed an ongoing tension between the two groups. Many Oslo residents have gotten used to the presence of the Romans but are still irritated and frustrated that nothing is done about the situation by politicians. The population is divided over what to do about the group. Some of the Oslo residents see the Roma as a poor group that should be taken in with open arms and should receive more attention and support. They see it as their responsibility as wealthy Norwegians to give to the poor. Others see them as a pack of criminals and should be expelled. Others see them as a poor group that does not have the resources to help themselves and think that giving them money when begging will only create more beggars and increase the unsustainable and undignified situation for the Roman in the long run.

Add new conflict

What are the conflicts, tensions or disagreements?

  • Add only the essential conflicts.
  • Don't add the small insignificant disagreements unless they cause long term problems for many people.

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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • What is it like to be affected by problem?
  • What do people feel about the issues of the problem?
  • How do people blame others for the problem?
  • What is the emotional health like?
  • Are there any irrational behavior?
  • Are there any repressed or buried emotions?
  • What are the thoughts and daydreams?

Some feelings to look for:

  • Empathy
  • Energy
  • Spirituality
  • Resentments
  • Shock and denial
  • Peace of mind
  • Love
  • Fear and confusion
  • Anger, guilt and imbalance

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Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

This sub section describes the emotions, feelings and mood of the people involved.

Understanding the perceptions, desires and sentiments is important for designing successful solutions. This sub section helps to identify these human emotional factors.

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What are some of the strong emotions involved?


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Add an item describing the emotions, feelings or mood of people.

Do not include statements about why and what it leads to at this point.

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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • What are the world views that cause conflict or stagnation?
  • What are the deleterious habits or mindsets that hamper learning and development?
  • What thinking affects decisions?
  • How do people come to conclusion about things? How do we collect information and decide what are facts?
  • How do people make sense of things?
  • What is the decision processes like?
  • How do people unconsciously move the facts they observe to conclusions and action?
  • Do people within the problem situation support learning by encouraging both inquiry and advocacy?
  • What are some of the dilemmas in thought that hold people back. E.g. If I don't ask questions, I don't learn; but If I do ask questions, I may look stupid.

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Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

A mental model is the image of the world around us, which we carry in our head. Nobody in his head imagines all the world, government or country. He has only selected concepts, and relationships between them, and uses those to represent the real system. - Jay W. Forrester

A person’s mental model explains the thought process about how something works in the real world. It is a representation of the surrounding world, the relationships between its various parts and a person's intuitive perception about his or her own acts and their consequences.

Understanding the mental models of those involved in the problem is important in order to understand how people think and to be able to design solutions that will be supported by the people.

Suggested reading

What is the thinking of people involved in the problem?

Norwegian inhabitants already pay a high amount of taxes and many feel they should be spared to be bothered by aggressive beggars daily. The Norwegian state may already be the country in the world who give the most money per citizen as aid money to the developing world. Ambivalence on giving or not. Historically there have been a distinction between real and illegitimate, worthy and unworthy beggars. Employable begging men have been looked upon with contempt, while disabled, sick and elderly have been treated with compassion. Suspected fraudulent begging are, about laziness as the cause of distress , created then as now a fundamental skepticism beggars Why they work Not? Are they really unable to work ? And this skepticism is a pronounced fear of being cheated , to turn out well rowing and stupid . The Romanes is a proverb which says : and you are you stupid, you do not give you a devil . while their marginal circumstances and often - travelers lifestyle led many into crime. was begging often a cover for crime som going on a large scale, and was also a important cause of community am BIVAL towards beggars.

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Add a text describing the world view, the beliefs or assumptions of people involved.

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