a/k/a "The Win/Win-Finder"
How Also To Discover Your Sources of Support & Opposition
I/E Analysis is the most recent major creative problem-solving system
to find its way into world use. It was first introduced into public
use in 1987 by this writer, at the annual Creative Problem-Solving
Institute in Buffalo, New York, where some form of it has been practiced
each year since. I/E Analysis has turned out to be far more than
only a very good system for solving problems, and we will explore
some of its other uses after the instructions below. First, we present
it as a group creative solution-finding procedure.
As a group
procedure, I/E Analysis works by far the best when conducted under
the provisions of "Dynamic Format," as in the preceding
The first 7
steps of I/E Analysis require, the first time tried, between 1 and
3 hours, and subsequently can be performed in about half to three
quarters of an hour. The duration of Step # 8 is a function of other
variables, these mostly being the prior experience of participants,
and can run between a few minutes and several hours.
of Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis:
which last awhile, despite varied good efforts to solve them - especially
problems in the firm or in society involving large numbers of people
- are usually situations in equilibrium. By definition, this
means that these are in self-defending homeostasis or sociostasis.
Self-balancing, they reflexively maintain themselves, often in complex
or sophisticated ways.
and intercept the reflexive negative feedbacks by means of which
a homeostatic situation or system maintains its equilibrium, and
you can change that system almost without effort, with low cost
in energy or money. To override that reflexive feedback is what
drives up costs and makes solving that problem situation expensive,
difficult or impossible.
which are major, especially problems which involve many people,
subsist from the behaviors--usually reflexive, usually undertaken
for wholly different conscious motives than are the unconscious
motives which are controlling--the behaviors of many people in that
those equilibria, or goals of self-sustaining balance--and also
very useful to analyze--are the incentives acting upon the
margins of decision of anyone who relates to that problem, either
in that problem or "in the wings."
* Needing special
recognition: the tendency of most complexly sociostatic situations
to retain and restore equilibrium by unconscious reflex,
regardless of the conscious motives of those involved. --Just as
the homeostatic physical human body maintains its million-and-one
complex balances by unconscious reflex, leaving the person's conscious
mind free to address other issues than those of maintaining proper
fluid levels, pumping just the right amount of noradrenaline, etc.
This is a structural, mathematical identity of behaviors,
between organisms and social arrangements. This is not the organic
"fallacy of composition" of which Oswald Spenglar was
accused. It is the behavior of certain types of structure whether
found in organisms or in society, with which we are concerned here.
on, or those adversely affected by the continuance or chronic return
of the problem situation, assume that the controlling motives which
direct people in those system-reflexive behaviors are conscious.
They make severely negative judgments about the (presumedly) conscious
motives of those who keep the problem going. These judgments are
almost always highly insulting as well as inaccurate, and engender
the hostilities so frequently featured in major problem equilibria.
We too often
fail to note or remember the very great difference between the roles
people are playing--which relate to those social structural problem
equilibria--and the human beings who happen to be playing these
roles. We stereotype these roles and throw them back in each other's
faces, instead of seeking out our common ground as human beings,
making it almost impossible to step aside from those roles even
if it should occur to us to do so.
lets us look directly at these role reflexive behaviors, without
the need to impugn anyone's conscious motives, to judge these systematic/mechanical
factors as distinct from, and potentially very different from, the
human dimensions of the same problem domain.
like Marx did as to the conscious motives of various interests and
groups in a given situation (and without a reductio as absurdum
around some rigid economic theory!), it is useful to address
those unconscious reflexive responses which are held in relation
to identified factional interests, within the particular problem
context. In doing so, Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis also leads
us toward finding bases of solution which do not sacrifice anyone's
interests, conscious or unconscious.
Acerbation Factor: Idealists PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!!---
world be so much better if good people everywhere stepped back from
these system-reflex roles and "did the right thing?" Even
if they could become aware enough to do so, or were good-hearted
and generous enough that you could persuade them to sacrifice their
own interests in doing what you want them to even for high-minded
idealistic reasons....here is the difficulty.
numbers of people are involved, and especially in hierarchical and
complex situations, there tends to develop a very great difference
between what benefits the common good and what will benefit one's
own narrowly selfish interests.
a difference exists, necessarily: persons motivated by self-interest
will advance--and at the expense of people who are motivated by
what would benefit the whole.
To the extent
such a difference is allowed to exist (or where you are very persuasive),
such situations necessarily punish humanitarian and "higher"
motivations. You can reduce to some extent that difference and that
punishment, but you cannot entirely eliminate it--if what benefited
selfish interest entirely benefited also the common good, the "selfish"
would resemble the humanitarian and could not thereby be sorted
out in favor of the humanitarian; in all other cases the situation
sorts out the humanitarian in favor of the selfish. If you are very
persuasive to the point where people on the other side of an issue
from you go against their own interests, you soon run out of friends
and potential friends.
To reduce such
punishment--and to reduce the attrition of the higher-minded--reduce
the difference between what benefits the individual and what benefits
the whole. One way to achieve this is to address problem equilibria
with the "Win/Win-Finder" aspect of I/E Analysis as below.
Reduce the sacrifice of those who are motivated by or responsive
to higher concerns. This frees them - and more people generally
- to act on their higher and conscious motivations, and reduce the
power and role of system-reflex, unconscious, inadmissible motivations.
People become better people and more of the better people survive.
Widespread use of the "Win/Win-Finder" thus tends us toward
a less bruising and more rational, sensible world.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Performing Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis:
* a group of 2 or more people besides yourself. Hundreds can
"play," subdivided into groups of from 4 to 6 persons
* Plenty of "Post-It" pads, and pens or markers and notepads
enough to go around.
* A large sheet of paper (11x17 or larger) on a table, or an equivalent
space on a chalkboard or markerboard, per sub-group "playing."
* (Optional:) a Poloroid camera and film, or a video camera, with
which to easily record particular configurations en route to your
most optimal solution.
If this is mostly people new to the procedure, so that the process
is likely to require several hours, you might want refreshments
also on hand in service of a break.
Up The Problem: select or state the problem. In a small boxed-in
space on the center of the allotted large piece of paper or board
space, write the statement of the problem. Up to the middle of either
side of that boxed-in problem space, draw a horizontal line through
the allotted space or large sheet. Evenly spaced, draw 2 more lines
across which mark off three horizontal spaces above the middle of
that box, and 2 more such lines across the allotted space or large
sheet which mark off three horizontal spaces below the level of
that problem box.
Viewed from DISequilibrium: To bring equilibrating forces into
view, imagine the problem to have been extremely disequilibriated
by having been "solved." Imagine and describe in
detail to your paired partner within your larger group or sub-group,
what it would be like if the problem were not only solved
but solved to an exaggerated degree, and notice everything that
comes to vision or to mind in that context. Brainstorm as
many as possible of all the things you can think of which would
be different if the problem were solved in such an exaggerated or
extreme way. Use "Support First" rule from Dynamic
Format; don't stop to argue or judge, just include whatever
entries come up. Find 40-50-100 possible differences resulting from
the problem having been solved so utterly.
makes apparent some elements of the problem situation which would
not have been so noticeable in static views of it even when participants
are well informed. Exaggerate the solution--the client is not only
promoted in his firm but jumped 3 levels higher; not only is involuntary
world hunger ended but everyone is so totally nourished as to be
even getting dangerously fat. Imagine sales to increase not only
by the target percentage but shoot right up off the chart. Imagine
what if all the illicit drugs in this country are seized successfully
in one fell swoop. Whatever the problem, expanding thus the view
of it being solved expands our perceptual map of the situation,
and gives us room to peer between its elements.
from problem-solving, use this procedure also toward discovering
the sources of support for you, your policy, or your proposed solution
to the problem--or anyone's pet solution to the problem, which often
has to be run through before other perspectives can be opened. Likewise
envisage the wild success or over-achievement of that person, policy
or proposed solution. Likewise, when using this procedure as an
accelerated learning technique, in combination with "case studies"
method in management training or in socio-behavioral courses: exaggerate
the extent to which various proposed resolutions of "the case"
could affect the persons or factors under study.)
Identification of Problem Elements: In groups of 3 to 6, brainstorm
WHO are all the players in that problem situation and who are
all the players in the wings. Anyone who relates to, is affected
by, affects or could effect, or could be affected by that problem
situation! Give specific names wherever possible, but identify also
all groups and "interests" as well. Instead of slowing
down for arguments, use the "Support-First Rule" from
Dynamic Format. When in doubt as to whether a named entity
is part of the situation, record it anyway instead of debating.
All named persons,
parties, interests each go on a slip of Post-It.
Setting Values--within your groups of 3-6. In those groups,
as rapidly as possible determine with each Post-It entry what the
impact of solving the problem would be on the (perceived short-term)
interests of each. Do this by means of "Quick-Vote." As
each entry is read aloud, within 3 seconds everyone in your
group "votes" his/her estimate by holding up or down 0,
1,2 or 3 fingers. A positive impact on the entry's perceived
short-term interests is signified by the fingers held upward;
an adverse or negative effect by the fingers held downward.
In either case, the greater the perceived short-term impact on the
entry's interests, the more the number of fingers held out accordingly.
Post-It of the entry at horizontal 0-line or 1, 2, or 3 spaces above
or below, on your sheet or board, according to the rough average
of your group's "vote."
On the left
edge of the allotted large sheet or boardspace, provide a column
space for "squiggles." On the right edge, a column for
asterisks (*). Accordingly,
are wide disparities in your group's voting on some entry--say a
plus two and a minus three--place that Post-It entry in the "squiggle"
column. These squiggle cases are of special interest because examination
of them often reveals whole sectors of the problem situation which
might not otherwise have come to view.
Also: for any
entry where there is a strong sharp impression of long term real
interest differing greatly from short-term perceived interest: post
that entry in the asterisk column. In whichever column, post each
entry whether squiggle or asterisk to correspond in terms of level
with the average of your group's perception of that entry's perceived
all Post-It entries are posted somewhere on the sheet or board at
some valence level.
Examine your sheet or board, with this concept in mind: Entries
above the 0-line (those with positive valences) are your potential
sources of support for a solution. Below that neutral 0-line, entries
with negative valences are likely to be somehow involved in the
defeat of attempted solutions (and policies and courses of action).
interest: swiftly review and analyze your "squiggle" and
asterisk entries. In some special cases you may want to recap the
above 3 steps in miniature, to identify elements within that
special entry--these can be especially illuminating!
You may also
discover key aspects of the problem situation from examining some
of the possible relationships between entries, on and off
the board or sheet. Especially focus on how a change in one might
Win/Win-Finding: determine what changes or "sweeteners"
would need to be added to the plan or solution or policy or course
of action, to bring more entries topside your 0-line (making their
perceived short-term interest impact positive). To what extent will
the cost of those sweeteners subtract from some of your support?
Start tinkering with the solution(s) or policy in such a way
as to see if you can turn all valences positive and still have a
distinctive thrust of solution.
to begin making such changes or adding such sweeteners, if you are
to emerge with a solution which will generate broad enough support
to be a solution. One experimental group, in fact, which
up to this point had performed brilliantly, froze on its initial
solutions without even beginning to explore such changes to those
perfect jewels of resolution--and was the only such group not to
develop at least the beginnings of an emergent genuine solution.
(Even the several groups which ran out of time were clearly en route
to an effective solution.)
If, as you
check out these sweeteners, your solution is beginning to look a
bit thin your policy expensive or shaky, you may want to take a
picture of this configuration of your sheet or board, then
try a different proposed solution or policy. Go quickly as possible
on each entry interest, to get group averaged estimate as to possible
change from old to proposed new solution impacting on that entry's
perceived short-term interests.
This is also
your opportunity to get someone's "pet solution" run and
out of the way. The more important a problem is, the likelier you
will have people who have pet solutions to it. To free their
full attention for the ultimate solution-finding, as soon as possible
after running such a pet solution through the valences and down
the tubes, start running another proposed solution through the valences.
find a solution which constitutes a win/win for all concerned, if
possible even in the short run - and definitely a win/win for all
in the long run. To the extent that the eventual solution falls
short of that objective, is the measure of the cost in power, force
or extraordinary persuasion which would be required to implement
that solution or policy.
If that solution
is not universally win/win, it must be at least close enough that
sufficient support will be generated to supply special or compensatory
incentive to those factors which otherwise would not be sharing
in the win. If your solution cannot generate that much support,
it probably is not a good enough solution. Seek another which is.
suggested idea for finding a cure for AIDS faster (or any seemingly
incurable fatal disease which still leaves mental faculties relatively
in good order), would be: to STAFF an entire major research
center (and dedicated funding commitment) with medically qualified
researchers who are themselves AIDS victims--and turn them
loose on the problem. However--
elements in the AIDS problem appear to be adversely affected by
that possible answer and/or by any possible major and/or inexpensive
cure. These elements would, consciously or unconsciously, probably
block action--for all sorts of high-minded reasons, explanations,
protection of the public, safeguarding of human rights, rules of
accountability for public resources, whatever.
To be adopted,
this solution option would have to be accompanied by other measures,
possibly by direct incentives to those other identified elements--and
delicately enough not to offend sensibilities with an air
of "buying off" someone or of impugning motives.
this example suggests, in broad outline at least, a strategy which
might be used to rapidly find cures for most remaining incurable
diseases, some of which have been around with billions in research
and treatment spent on them, for a long time and with a tremendous
extent of human suffering.
(if needed): If all your major solutions and policies have shown
up bankrupt, then brainstorm in your group all possible
solutions to the problem without regard to acceptability or suitability,
to flush new options into view. The "Support-First" rule
is back in effect. Try for 40, 50, 100 solution suggestions.
out the most interesting ideas from the list, and/or bunch them.
Give special attention to that idea which was first greeted with
a burst of laughter, since that often turns out to be the best idea.
If no one idea emerges "head and shoulders" above the
rest, use whatever quick sort-down method can get you to the 2-3
most interesting solution possibilities within 3 minutes or so.
Configure each on your sheet or board as above, then look for the
least expensive sweeteners which will bring virtually everyone above
the 0-line. Also, on each of these,
GBD.com without it costing you a dime. Learn
your own gut-level responses to each solution. See if you can identify
and state in particulars the cause(s) of that gut-level response.
See what that factor does when introduced into your board or sheet.
Remember that any problem solving formula or method "is
a tool, not a rule;" its purpose is to expand perception over
facets which otherwise might not get noticed and which just might
possibly contain your winning answer. Sometimes, pointing in one
direction is what brings another direction into view. In the long
run, not the method but you make the decisions.
the preferred solution. Improve further on it. Design a step-by-step
sequence of operations which will cause it to be implemented, a
series of specific steps culminating in completion of the solving
of that problem. Your steps need to be concrete enough, specific
enough, that you will readily know when each is completed or that
it is not. Pinpoint each step in sequence or time. Make sure you've
accounted for First Step. ("What's First Step? If there's
anything which has to be done before that step then it's not
First Step so what is First Step?")
words, generalities may point the direction, but solutions happen
only through concrete specific steps.
Thus far, participants
have been laymen at best, with regard to the problems addressed.
--Yet their levels of discourse, analysis and solution-finding under
this set of procedures consistently has been profoundly superior
to the recorded and media-broadcast deliberations on the same topics
by assembled experts and leading professionals.
In every instance,
participants and observers have been astounded by the degree and
quality of information and insight developed where all participating
were initially thought to be uninformed. Every time, key facets
and possibilities have emerged which do not appear to have been
considered anywhere else.
It will be
interesting indeed to see what can be accomplished once teams of
informed experts and professionals are assembled to these procedures.
on a Speculative Case Study:
We Make Part of the Problem
Into Part of the Solution?
(--Also Known As: "Adventure With a Squiggle")
Can the most
nightmarish part of our environmental and global pollution problem
actually provide a major part of the solution?
Case for a Proposed Solution---
at power sources---
* There's only
so much hydroelectric potential to go around.
* Conventional, fossil-fuel-burning power stations--
--use up fossil fuels(!);
--pollute air and water;
--worsen our accumulating world greenhouse CO2 effect; and
--if oil-fired, worsen our trade deficits and national dependency.
* Solar power, after many decades, we've never yet managed to master
the art or science of making economical on a large scale. Hopes
for space-based solar power have slipped another generation further
back with the retreat of plans for the U.S. Space Station.
* Geothermal power pollutes air and water.
* Ocean waves and tidal inlets, after many decades we've never managed
to make into an economical power source.
* Temperature differences within different layers of part of the
ocean, after more than a decade we've not yet managed to make economically
feasible as a power source. Perhaps the same principle could
become feasible with the sharper temperature differences found in
groundwater in desert regions.
* Controlled fusion power seems more out of reach now than when
we first invented nuclear reactors, and "cold fusion"
has gone into the books as an example of myth and hysteria in science.
* Conservation of power, as relatively a power source, has begun
to bump into its limits. Thermal insulation of buildings has run
into radon. We don't seem to be able to push Detroit into much higher
fuel efficiencies. Social resistance to further measures is climbing
unless we radically adjust incentives. Only the computer revolution
has significantly reduced power demand, and how much further can
that aspect go?
* Nuclear reactors are not only directly dangerous a la 3-Mile Island
and Chernobyl, but their greatest problem is the continued accumulation
of radioactive wastes, already far more than we've figured out how
to handle and potentially the most lethal threat to all life on
Earth. To build any more conventional nuclear reactors would be
one of the most irresponsible decisions in the annals of history!
--So what IS
left? --Those very same radioactive wastes already produced!
II. The Proposed
Solution---Convert radioactive "wastes" into a power source
in secondary thermal reactors.
The end product
of radioactivity is heat. --Enough heat, when brought together,
to melt and pump sodium as a thermal conductor, or steam if run
cooler than that, to drive turbines or other power-generating devices.
Can there be
much doubt that, as a working power source, a given set of radioactive
"waste" would receive much more careful handling than
it does now as "waste?" Still dangerous, but the assembly
of radioactive wastes into "secondary," thermal reactors
has to be counted as a major safety improvement over today's situation.
of power generated from radioactive "waste" is that much
less greenhouse effect, that much less air and water pollution,
that much less fossil fuel used up, that much less foreign trade
deficit and dependency resulting from more conventional power generating.
nuclear reactors, such "secondary" reactors from radioactive
"waste" will not generate more such waste. In two
senses it will make less such waste, in that--
1. It moves
stuff from essentially uncontrolled "dumps" into much
more carefully handled power plants; and
2. It's power can begin to replace conventional nuclear power, thus
reducing the rate at which further such wastes are being created!
building of these "secondary reactors" will also be a
useful conversion of some of the technical resources of our dwindling
defense industry, and a good spur to our stagnant economy.
In the 1940s
and '50s we made the basic national decision, echoed elsewhere,
to build regular nuclear power plants and to treat their non-power
output as waste, rather than as part of a thermal, secondary power
retrieval system. Whatever the economics were then as regards such
secondary retrieval, those economics have certainly changed since,
and the whole issue certainly bears rethinking.
When we originally
made that basic national decision, we were in the throes of a technological
fantasy about limitless clean nuclear power. Fusion power was just
around the corner, we had not yet come to appreciate how hard it
is to keep up safety standards in large-scale enterprises and over
long periods of time, and we'd certainly not anticipated or come
to appreciate the extent of the problem that we are now posed vis-a-vis
horrendously accumulating, dangerous, nowhere safely disposable
radioactive wastes. Each of these factors by itself fully
justifies our rethinking that decision of not converting radioactive
wastes into secondary thermal retrieval power reactors. Taken together,
it's quite remarkable that no one is exploring the issue.
III. A first
look at incentives regarding this solution--
the economics were then, back in the late 40s and 50s; and whatever
the economics may be now: there is a very simple, direct and easy
way to change those economics for the better. Exempt from all taxes
for a decade, income from commercial exploitation of a long list
of substances hitherto known as dangerous and toxic wastes! (--Including
radioactive wastes.) Tax such income at half rates for the decade
following and at normal rates thereafter. To take advantage of the
tax break, all sorts of uses will come out of the woodwork to use
up such "wastes." Any foregone tax revenues during that
interval would be many, MANY times made up for by what we
would otherwise have to spend in protecting and restoring our living
space from those dangerous wastes, and our absolute societal and
global costs saved would be many times more even than that!
War II, a major part of the history of the industrial revolution
was a matter of each generation finding commercial uses for the
waste by-products and overlooked resources of the previous generation.
Since then we appear to have let matters in this regard get away
from us. The proposed tax incentive would bring us back in line
with this historical precedent, and further would be very much in
line with current social efforts to reclaim and recycle specific
wastes such as plastic and aluminum.
we should immediately proceed to study the feasibility and simple
design of secondary thermal recovery power plants using some of
our radioactive wastes. The wastes we are so anxious (and unable)
to control now should be made available to commerce under appropriately
controlled and well-understood conditions. We should also begin
immediately to determine how best to define and apply the proposed
tax incentive to encourage the commercial using-up of all sorts
of toxic and dangerous substances with which we've let our world
losers who would need "sweeteners" in order not to become
major opposition to the proposal--
We won't go
into an exhaustive listing here, in order to take time and space
to look at a most fascinating squiggle/asterisk factor which developed
in this instance. But the most obvious major losers are, of course,
all the competing industrial sources of power, especially oil and
coal, and suppliers of equipment and services to those industries.
The sweeteners, also, required to offset to these big "losers"
the effects of a major new source of clean power, thus far appear
to be more controversial than the original proposal though if a
concerted program of this sort eliminated much of the need for conservation
of power, cutting back on some areas of power conservation effort
might serve as part of such a "sweetener," attracting
support from builders who could be among the major "winners"
if their insulating costs were reduced--rendering insulation manufacturers
a source of opposition, and so on. Obviously, this is an unfinished
case since the people in our thinktanks thus far have contributed
their time for free and are "scarce" in relation to the
need for their services both on this and on other matters.
A lot of the
opposition to the tax incentive measure or other application of
the proposal, that nuclear "wastes" be converted into
a thermal power source in secondary reactors, is marginal and could
easily be headed off with just a bit of sweetener. A few of the
more rigid power companies, and suppliers of some of their equipment
some of whom, if identified, could be contracted with for the very
same program and thus brought around. --Unfortunately most of the
conservation groups, seeing this as one issue less to get the public
excited about and in their camp of support. Unless they can be gotten
to see the advantages in membership money and power terms of becoming
advocates of the proposed program and getting public credit for
besides the general public whose diffuse interests almost never
get served directly, would be much of the health and safety insurance
industry; the State of Nevada where the Federal Government has been
planning to dump most of the nuclear wastes; neighbors (and realty
interests) proximate to the many current temporary nuclear waste
dump sites around the country--and, most of all, key segments of
the defense industry who would be building the plants and equipment
for the proposed secondary reactors.
All that much
is obvious, even without running a formal I/E Analysis to discover
sources of support and opposition.
Each time we
ran such an analysis on this issue or started to, we ran into a
most remarkable consideration.
the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency, and to some extent the various
transportation agencies and other related agencies, would be a major
player or factor in the game. But when we began to look at whether
this proposal would be a positive or negative valence for them,
we got squiggles and asterisks. When we gave these closer attention,
they broke out mainly in this manner:
* Lower branches
of the agency or related agencies would be highly specialized, and
bureaucratically would see this proposal as meaning a lot more work
to hassle with but not enough positive to bother. Hence, lower branches
receiving the proposal would be negative toward it and find reason
to reject it, regardless of its merits for the country as a whole.
* Higher, more
generalized levels of the bureaucracy or bureaucracies concerned,
would instead see possibilities of expanding or of building new
empires, even in the short run and especially in the long run. The
higher ranking the officials contacted on the proposal, the more
likely they would be to support the proposal.
The strategy this configuration dictates is, not to submit the proposal
through channels at all, routed as these are to the lower, more
specialized rank & file. The only way for the proposal to get
enough of a hearing, consideration and argument is via a systematized
campaign of letters and E-mail and personal contacts with the top
people in the agencies concerned, even after being referred down.
The campaign has to be sustained, kept in the attention of the top
people because the first few times bureaucrats at lower levels will
keep finding ways to defeat it. That will turn around, and the lower
echelons will finally swing to support the thing and do what they're
supposed to do, once it becomes clear to them that it'd take far
more work and time and attention and effort to keep fighting the
proposal than to let it go through.
without regard to the actual merits of the matter! But that is what
is built into the structure of the situation, as revealed through
I/E Analysis, and whatever protagonist(s) of this proposal can ignore
that only at peril.
Upon due reflection,
we realized that this structure is true also for most innovative
proposals, independent of their merits. The days when ordinary citizens
could suggest an idea and get it considered on its own merits, are
long gone. So long as government agencies are structured with specialized
lower echelons and generalized upper (and it is difficult to see
how they might be otherwise arranged), the system has a built-in
drive toward political power arrangements, and away from considering
actions and policies and proposals by their actual merits.
Note also that
this structural predisposition, rooted in government agencies and
tending response systems away from considerations of merit and toward
political power--and is that really all that much a surprise, given
what we see around us?--is true for all forms of government, ranging
between formal democracies and formal totalitarian tyrannies. So
long as wealth and power are concentrated to get things done through
government, the policies and deliberations of government will be
driven away from what is best for the country and tend toward being
less and less rational over time.
usually either until the situation collapses ruinously, eventually
to restart in another such cycle; or until a way is found--such
as use of incentives to the private sector instead of more direct
methods to "get things done"--to diffuse those concentrated
stakes of power and wealth.
--All of this
from a squiggle!
Step One: please
discuss this proposal--in any or all of these regards--
* to convert
nuclear wastes into a secondary power source;
* to use tax incentives to induce the private sector to convert
wastes into commercial products and services;
* the general case with "the squiggle," that because government
agencies are constructed with specialists near the bottom and generalized
leaders at the top, this "squiggle effect" tends ideas
and proposals away from consideration by merit and toward political
power arrangement increasingly antithetical to the interests of
with at least
one other person whom you respect.
Uses for the Win/Win-Finder Method
I. The Win/Win-Finder,
or I/E Analysis, As An Accelerated/Enhanced Learning Technique:
In the socio-behavioral
curriculum--history, psychology, sociology etc.--this same procedure
can be used to refocus the "Case Studies" method used
there and in management training. For each case problem: lay out
all elements and "players of the game" and "players
in the wings," just as with the main method, leading to a dynamic
and profoundly enriched analysis and understanding of the "case"
or problem situation so addressed.
Even more directly,
use this procedure in sessions of the "Problems of Democracy"
courses: whether highlighting crucial factors and epochs in a conventionally
chronologically taught course, or featured in the "post-hole"
or episodic approach to history-teaching.
Use this method
also to brilliantly highlight moments and situations portrayed in
psychodrama and sociodrama.
In each instance
here, just as in our thinktanks with corporate or societal problems:
I/E Analysis instantly sophisticates participants' understanding
of the problem area and its dynamics, and also is highly involving
of interest. Initially naive and uninformed groups quickly move
ahead of the experts in their grasp of the problem situation and
its potential resolutions. That impressive leap in understanding
can not only serve problem-solving purposes but educational ones,
as suggested here.
Just as Walt
Disney's "Storyboarding" technique has the potential of
enriching the study of literature and drama, above and beyond its
present uses in creative theater and therapy, I/E Analysis or Win/Win-Finder,
by highlighting the problem situations of characters in stories
and dramas, has high potential for enriching educationally the study
of literature and drama, and for heightening the poignancy of "might-have-beens"
the Horns of a Dilemma:
It's usually the people who care about some problem or issue, and
who have put some thought and concern into that matter already,
who have developed some pet or stock solution or response to it.
Because everyone else tends to dismiss their ideas--and concerns--pretty
much out of hand regardless of merit, it's easy for some of these
concerned, thoughtful, at least partially informed, people to become
shrill, repetitive or otherwise abrasive about it, deepening further
the likelihood of rejection.
for a concerned, caring--and usually-dismissed person to have the
Win/Win-Finder run on his idea or proposal. He's actually getting
a hearing on the thing, it's actually being considered! He might
not much like the outcome of that analysis--but he was part
of it, he saw how it went, he no longer is driven toward--
everyone else's proceedings in that topic;
2) Dismissing and ignoring everyone else's ideas in that topic the
way his own were treated;
3) Not hearing further information and insights.
being a noise and an obstacle, this caring and at least somewhat
informed person usually becomes a genuine asset to the group's deliberations
on the topic, and considerably enriches the final outcome even though
it is usually very different from the answer he was for so long
utterly convinced of.
bright, concerned, abrasive obstacles back into productive human
assets makes use of Win/Win worthwhile even for that reason alone,
even if it didn't solve problems and do all these other things
the Support & Opposition to Your Position, Your Plan or Policy:
position or title, it automatically tends to attract support from
some players and opposition from others. Some players are case,
by definition,. in a more complementary role; others in an actual
or potentially competing or adversarial role. Identify all players
in relation to your position, title or job description. Now imagine
your position become supersuccessful and powerful, exaggeratedly
so. Assign valences as before. Cross-check: imagine yourself suddenly
removed from that role and from the situation--who would gain? Who
would lose? Who would be discomfited? Assign valences as before,
remembering this time that you are working in the negative.
important to remember and consider are two things--
1) This map
is showing us the potential for unconscious motivation and not the
actual, conscious motivation which can be and usually is very different.
2) Also, with
respect to role: there's the role and there's the human being playing
that role. The human being can be the major factor and the role
minor, or the other way around--and the human being is usually motivated
at least somewhat differently than is the role he is playing, which
is part of his unconscious motivation.
Roles are a
key means for us to learn and to grow, but they are not us. I have
a role but I am not the role that I am playing. In fact,
I am considerably more than the sum total of the various roles I
am playing or have played. Most Americans have not been educated
on this distinction between roles and the people playing those roles,
and so are muddled, confused or otherwise easily misled on these
matters. Opponents on some point or issue are too easily regarded
as - and treated as - enemies when, with a little care in handling,
they could become your great allies and friends in most other contexts.
Play hard but play clean and be quick to extend a helping hand back
up as you move toward some other context. Anticipatory cultivating
of personal relationships can also prevent opposition where your
map would otherwise predict it, even where you don't formally design
in "sweeteners" of one sort or another.
a policy or policy decision. Again, imagining the exaggerated super-success
of that policy outcome to outrageous levels, rather than a merely
normal success. That exaggeration gives you "more room"
to perceive the relevant valences among your various affected players.
or I/E Analysis in Personal Goals Therapy:
Did you once
have goals which are fading because you've somehow just not been
able to achieve them? Are you settling for less than what you originally
set out for?
Even one human
individual is a complex being, not only biologically but psychologically
and socially. Each role that individual has played or is playing--father,
son, daughter, stern parent, nurturing parent, dependent child,
wayward child, wonderkind, friend, boss, employee, lover, packmate,
etc.etc.--and each stake s/he is playing to or has played to, defines
Each of these
items in your personal history and situation defines a facet which,
with regard to the long-standing non-attainment of some particular
goal or standard, can be regarded a la I/E Analysis as a "player
in the game" or in the wings.
If you have
"stabilized" short of your long-desired goal or standard,
despite some good efforts along the way: this suggests equilibrium,
indeed a complexly homeostatic equilibrium identical in character,
at least, to those addressed in continuing or chronic long-term
to that long-held but unfulfilled goal or that chronically
and give short tag names as above to all the roles you've played,
other stakes you've played to, and whatever other identifiable facets
of your being.
* Imagine that
goal or standard exaggeratedly overfulfilled and achieved. Relative
to that exaggerated success,
* Race through
those identified tag-named aspects of yourself assigning them valences
just as you did with your teammates around that corporate or societal
problem statement-in-the-box. With a little imagination, conduct
"bargaining and negotiation" in some way on behalf of
or between these various facets of yourself, to discover your main
sources of internal support for reaching your goal, and to discover
some arrangement wherein all facets of yourself are brought above
the 0-line so that you no longer are preventing yourself from achieving
but a few of the possible extensions of a very young method of creative
solution-finding. What the future holds for it, your handling of
it will help determine. What you have not experienced, until you
actually go through a session with some form of this system, is
the amazing quality of public or group shared insight and sophistication
on matters which you could have sworn that no one present knew a
thing about. Experiencing this effect will, in and of itself, tell
you some surprisingly positive things about yourself--and about
others around you.
some surprising new opportunities on great groaning chronic problems
hope of solution of which had long since faded away. Mad or no,
we don't have to take it any more!
Your own entertaining
and/or productive test and use of this method, in one or more of
its various forms, will go a longer way than you yet realize toward
the day when many, many people discover themselves to be
more than a match for the difficulties which had been so besetting
them and besetting us all. --And the positive opportunities opening
up are of a scale, scope and nature such that it's well worth staying
alive through these times to share in that coming experience.
©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version
only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution
of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgement
of source), we do require that expressed permission be granted by
Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing
and sharing, we only request that you notify us.
reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at Project
originally published on Anakin's
Brain (now Genius By Design)