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Transformative Approaches to International Organization

Overview of Commentaries on Transformative Approaches in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1994-95, Section TZ)

1. Intention
Interactive database use
Visualization and comprehension
Discontinuity and non-linearity
Configuring globally
Global patterning
Dialogue and conferencing
Envisioning meetings of the future
Context beyond text
Configuring strategic dilemmas in intersectoral dialogue
Poetry and policy-making: prospects for an arranged marriage

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1. Intention

The intention of this section is to present a set of approaches which collectively offer the potential for a new way of responding to complexity documented in other sections of this Encyclopedia.

Each of the approaches briefly described here is necessarily somewhat unconventional. Each has its value in isolation and some are already successfully used on that basis. The argument here is that, whether or not they are already used, each can also be usefully understood as having strengths and weaknesses not found in the others. In this sense their real value for the future lies in their complementarity.

The point to be made is that it is not any one single approach which is adequate to the challenge of the present social complexity. Rather it is how a range of fundamentally different approaches are combined to compensate for the various weaknesses of each of them.

Analytical tools must necessarily continue to have their special role, but many of the approaches grouped here highlight the need for new ways to represent or visualize complex patterns. During any design process there is a need to facilitate more creative comprehension of complexity than has proved possible by linear descriptions or through analytical tools alone. The stress on complementarity is therefore effectively a stress on a form of methodological group marriage.

From the more concrete to the more imaginative, the approaches included are the following.

From the more concrete to the more imaginative, the approaches included are the following.