viaFuture Strategy
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 generation” strategy.   
     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 challenging future. 
     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. 

viaFuture strategy model

      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 generation”? 
     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 interdependent world.
     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.  

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viaFuture Strategy......................

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