With "via" Strategy and Models
[Link to Full Paper]
As we look around us in America and the world, we should be
concerned. Much of what is important to us is already broken or is
endangered, much of it unnecessarily so. If we are to achieve a
better future, we need to use a “next generation” strategy for
solving large problems and creating and sustaining positive, large
scale change. The “via” strategy set is one proposed “next
First, let me suggest that our “mission” should be to
build a better future. Our “vision” should be to achieve a
positive, sustainable future and preferably a thriving future for
all forever. But how do we do it? Thirty years of work at the
national and local levels has convinced me that most current policy
and strategy models are too limited in scope for addressing today’s
problems and wholly inadequate for succeeding with a much more
Generally, current policy and strategy models fail to
learn from past failures and fall far short of being next
generation. Next generation policy and strategy models must
succeed with a future world that is at high risk with threats to its
sustainability, is large and broad of scope, is complex, is highly
interactive and interdependent, will depend heavily on what people
do, and will change with or without us.
Many people, with good intentions are trying to fix large
problems and build a better future. That is good news, to some
extent. Unfortunately, that includes much bad news unless we change
our approach. Most people are focused on single issue areas, e.g.
housing, health, income, transportation, education, plant/animal
habitat, climate, natural resources. Most are focused on only a
part of a single issue area. Most treat people as parts rather than
whole persons. If successful, most make some progress in the near
term and relatively little for the longer term. Most waste valuable
resources and reach less than optimal near and long term solutions
because they do not coordinate their work with that being done in
related issue areas.
No single strategy,
model or tool by itself will help us do all this. But a core set of
“next generation” strategies, models and tools together can help if
it: is effective for individual and cross-cutting issues, can
incorporate and work well with other effective strategies, models
and tools is effective as a coordinated approach for addressing the
“systems” and “wholes” requirement, and can effectively address the
future and adjust to and sustain the future.
Just such a core set is being proposed here. This core set is labeled
“via”, a term whose definition is “by way of, through the medium or
agency of, or by means of.” The “via” overall strategy and core set
is explored here along with three areas of potential application:
Health, a large, complex, individual
issue area, where it has already been applied.
Vulnerability, a large complex
cross-cutting issue area, where it is being explored to develop
coordinated strategy and policy.
Whole communities, whole nations and
whole broader areas where it is being explored to develop
coordinated strategy and policy.
As suggested, potential “next
generation” models do exist for strategy at system (issue area,
community, nation, broader area) and person levels. The “via”
strategy -- a core set and system of supportive models addressing
persons, systems, motivation, ability, behavior, performance and its
improvement, process measures, and, most importantly, positive
outcomes and improved status – is one proposed approach.
All this can be helpful,
but solving a community’s, a nation’s or broader area (e.g. a region
or larger) problems takes more than this. We need “next
generation” strategy. But what does it mean to be “next
First, “next generation” strategy must focus on whole
“persons” -- individuals with unique abilities, motivation, and
behaviors uniquely affected by and affecting their “environment.”
After all, it is people who create most problems and it is people
who can and should fix the problems, create and sustain positive,
large scale change, and build a better future.
Second, “next generation” strategies need to be much
more effective at addressing the important issue areas, especially
large, complex ones.
Third, “next generation” strategies need to effectively
handle the cross-cutting issues of a highly interactive and
Fourth, “next generation” strategy and policy must
tackle issues as a system (e.g. a health system, a resource system,
a community) interacting with other systems and within larger
systems (e.g. communities, nations, world).
Fifth, “next generation” strategies need to effectively
handle whole “systems”, including whole persons, whole communities,
whole nations, and, whole broader areas.
Sixth, “next generation” strategies need to effectively
handle the future in terms of sustaining whatever progress we make
and adjusting to a changing future.
Seventh, “next generation” strategies need to include and be
effective at both the strategic and operational levels to achieve
target outcomes/status and to ensure sustainability.