Clumsy Solutions

My good friend and colleague, Jack Johnston, loaned me a book to read on vacation this past week. It’s entitled, Clumsy Solutions for a Complex World, Government, Politics and Plural Perceptions.

What’s a “clumsy solution”? My take on it: one that acknowledges and takes into consideration the cultural point of view of any position a group, organization, or nation takes when making decisions or establishing new policy. It’s not nearly as clean and precise as we might wish our positions – any position – might be – but it is much more viable and valuable in today’s complex world.

The editors’ review of cultural theory provides a very accessible framework for assessing the prevalent “social contract” that governs decision-making, whether we are aware of it or not. The various contributors to this volume apply the theory to global issues from climate change to gun control to open internet access. Their study has enormous relevance for anyone concerned with the “politics of creativity” and innovation. The pursuit of innovative solutions must necessarily include rigorous inquiry about the embedded assumptions that are inextricably a part of culture.

I am very cautious about recommending any book that lists at $85.00. (That’s why I borrowed it form Jack.) But I wish both John McCain and Barak Obama would read it. And you too.