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"I have gotten a great deal of  benefit out of the book and wanted to drop you a line and express my appreciation. I learned about DM and Compendium at a meeting ... a few weeks ago. The facilitator had read your book and ran the meeting with Compendium projected on a large screen. I was intrigued by the dynamic of how we interacted with the information on the screen, but was even more interested by how we had largely removed emotion from the discussion, and stayed on topic towards solving several wicked problems!"
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Dialogue Mapping:  
Building Shared Understanding of
Wicked Problems
Jeff Conklin, Ph.D.

When an organization is confronting a wicked problem the familiar approaches don't work. For one thing, with a wicked problem there isn't even agreement about what the problem is, much less how to solve it. To make progress one must focus on creating maximum shared understanding and shared commitment among the stakeholders. Dialogue mapping is a proven technique for building that shared understanding and commitment, as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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Book Reviews

“I’ll say it at the outset: once in a while there comes along a book that inspires and excites because it presents new perspectives on old, intractable problems. In my opinion,  Dialogue Mapping : Building a Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems by Jeff Conklin falls into this category. This post presents an extensive summary and review of the book.” – Eight to Late’s Kailash Awati

"Conducting an intelligent, tractable, and possibly useful “dialogue” should not be a problem--right? Not according to Conklin. Apparently, even simple real-life problems can turn out to have no solution. The book starts with the introduction of issues related to the “wicked problems.” The examples presented as wicked problems are certain to bring an “aha!!!” moment into many a manager’s mind--“So that is why the project failed, despite overspending!”

From an engineer’s perspective, the world should be very well defined. But we, the engineers, surely fail to place the Hu--the human element--into any project map. As it turns out, sometimes even very simple sounding problems are “wicked” in that they lack specific solutions. Adding the human element into the broth only makes things worse." (more)

Reviewer: H. Van Dyke Parunak
Date Reviewed: 11/21/07

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