to complex to solve - to important not to
  • Christchurch
  • New Zealand

Unpredictable- that’s our space! It’s totally not an engineering workshop or a hospital emergency room. Social and environmental change is never “solved” by pre-set protocols nor follows our carefully laid out pathways. Actually, our issues are simply never “solved”. The context is always changing, a new policy is written, population demographics become different, a new opportunity
arises, funding dries up…To be constantly adapting to our dynamic space- learning by doing and doing by learning we need to know what’s working, what isn’t and why. However often we don’t even know what the questions are, what to evaluate or how. Really complex issues need fundamentally different logic, methods and perspectives. That’s what I offer.

An independent practitioner with decades of experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as the Global North I enjoy complexity, think systemically, always include the people a project is “for” and standardly co-design evaluations monitoring and design with clients. I am a doctor, have masters degrees in Conservation biology Philosophy and Development, and post-graduate GIS but don’t present myself as a subject area specialist. Sure I can do health and environmental protection but my real expertise systems, people and process.

Wide ranging work in many fields has taught me where to look, what to listen for to identify underlying drivers relevant to any situation. Recently I’ve contributed to participatory snow leopard conservation i(Tibet), indigenous identity (Cambodia), People living with HIV i(Indonesia), mental health (Afghanistan), Street youth (Kenya), village livelihood (India), leprosy (Nepal) and
global development (Pakistan). Now, back in Aotearoa since Covid, I’m loving applying a deep and broad view of systems, people and processes to New Zealand Issues.I enjoy trying to unravel with a team what is going on and how we might do better. I use actor centred (cf project centred) approaches in all my work often with Outcome Harvesting and Outcome Mapping in which I am an expert. I’m equally at home in a UN office or teaching Kenyan Street youth to be my co-evaluators.

If what you’re working on is too complex to formally solve, but to important not to tackle, If you truly trust your participants but don’t know how to incorporate their ideas, if you see your “problem space’ as also being your solutions space, if you want to be ready to run with emergent ideas, If you dream of but don’t know how to implement…. check me out on www.unpredictable.co or just call me.

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