Global Strategies Project
Typology of 12 complementary strategies
essential to sustainable development
Global Strategies Project |
adaptation and development from related table on Characteristics
of phases in learning / action cycles, derived from Arthur
(1978). See commentary on learning cycles in
Cycles of dissonance
. See also alternative
based on clustering strategies and values. See also Typology
of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue
; strategic dilemmas
B2 [ML /T]
("walking the talk"; "guts"; "being there")
Rows: These distinguish between the 12 strategy types based on
(1) knowledge of issues, (2) concern for issues, and (3) "being there"
-- where the issues are hurting.
Columns: These d
Row 1 is primarily intellectual and detached from reality "on the
ground" or "in the field", even if it is obliged to deal with it; a "concern"
barrier must be passed to get into Row 2 strategies.
Row 2 is concerned with, or involved with, grounded reality -- but
without "being there"; a "grounding" barrier must be passed to get into
Row 3 strategies.
Row 3 is identified with grounded reality in some way; a "comprehension"
barrier must be passed to get into Row 1 strategies (repeating the learning
cycle within a larger framework) .
istinguish between the 12 strategy types based on
(A) acknowledging issues, (B) responding to issues, (C) acting on issues,
and (D) sustaining action on issues.
Column A is primarily identifying and relating to issues (sensing
them); an "intention" barrier must be passed to get into Column B.
Column B is developing intentions with respect to the issues; an
"action" barrier must be passed to get into Column C.
Column C is engaging in action; a "continuity" barrier must be passed
to get into Column D where the action can be rendered sustainable.
Column D is ensuring that action is controlled and maintained knowledgeably;
a "contextual" barrier, recognizing new feedback loops, must be passed
to get into Column A (repeating the learning cycle within a larger
Each of the 12 strategy types has a vital function. The challenge is that
their complementarity is not necessarily recognized. Certain strategy types
are easily neglected, notably those in Row 3 and those in Column D. Because
of its lower "dimensionalty", it tends to be easier to engage in strategy
A1, for example -- which is coded with the lightest colour in the table.
The current challenge is to give meaning and force to strategies of
type D3, that correspond to sustainable development
-- which is coded
the darkest in the table.
The words used to describe each of the 12 individual strategy types
are commonly encountered in describing strategies -- notably in the declarations
of international organizations. The colour coded diagonals suggest a pattern
of progressive engagement towards sustainable action "on the ground":
Diagonal A1: Monitoring type strategy, frequently used as a preliminary
to any other strategy, whether relating to massacres or environmental disasters.
Response to many issues is often limited to this, notably by the academic
Diagonal A2-B1: Acknowledgment of the issue and adaptive response
to it. This has little effect "on the ground" but administrative and intellectual
frameworks and procedures may be adjusted to take account of the issue.
Diagonal A3-B2-C1: The issue evokes empathy (reassuring the victims),
official warnings and calls for action, and initiation of patterns of response.
This is typical of responses by the international community / media / local
activist complex. New issues, including potential genocides, notably evoke
strategies of type B2, namely "deploring", "protesting", etc by the international
community -- possibly accompanied by "undertaking", and "initiating" strategies
(type C1), but without significant follow-up.
Diagonal B3-C2-D1: Concerns expressed on the preceding diagonal
may lead to strategies of type B3, namely "resolving", "deciding", etc
-- on the part bodies such as the UN Security Council. Decisions are taken,
coalitions are formed, orders are given and supervisory structures are
set up. This may be framed as effecting change, but this form of implementation
typically lends itself to positive reporting on action taken with little
awareness of whether this is effective "on the ground".
Diagonal C3-D2: Enforcement becomes evident "on the ground" and
coordination is ensured with respect to the continuity of the implementation
process. Unfortunately the engagement is such that the "continuity" is
essentially short-term and tends to be eroded and abandoned once attention
passes to other issues. This is typical of many responses to issues that
are momentarily in the public eye.
Diagonal D3: Action becomes sustainable through building in procedures
that guarantee long-term continuity based on appropriate attention to feedback
loops. However any such form of grounded, sustainable action is itself
challenged by unforeseen issues and feedback loops that may call for new
kinds of issue detection and monitoring (Diagonal A1).
of each strategy type necessarily also exist.
These are suggested by column labels at the foot of the table.
Meeting participation: It is also fruitful to see each of the
12 strategy types as reflecting the complementary views that need to be
expressed at an archetypal strategic "roundtable" (Camelot style). The
specific relationships between each such view have been tentatively explored
in an earlier study on Toward a New Order of Meeting Participation
that charts the Shadowy Roundtable Hidden within every Meeting. This
endeavours to show how the seemingly "external" issues tend to be reflected
in the different behaviour styles of meeting participants -- and the need
for a new kind of participant contract to move beyond such constraints.
Torus representation: As implied above, the Row 1 strategies
can also usefully be considered as bordering the Row 3 strategies -- by
rolling the table into a cylinder. Similarly the Column A strategies can
also be considered as bordering the Column D strategies -- by connecting
the ends of the cylinder to form a torus. It is on the surface of this
torus that the connectivities between the strategy types might be more
appropriately comprehended. A possible representation of this structure,
appropriately coloured, has been developed as a hypersphere to illustrate
Arthur Young's insights (http://www.hypersphere.com/hs/abouths.html)
Individual action: The relevance of the above typology can also
be explored in relation to individual or community group action. The status
of a "New Year's Resolution" with respect to personal sustainable development
is then clarified -- a demonstrates the nature of the challenge for international
organizations inspired by its many Resolutions.
From Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential