To tell you the truth…
there are fantastic opportunities for humanity to live and develop with meaning and dignity, with the knowledge, technology and resources we have available.
inspired dialogue and self-reflective learning are needed for people to be able to unlock their collective wisdom, passion and creativity.
SPROCKLER is a response to an increasingly complex world wherein we endeavour to make sense of what happens.
SPROCKLER provides opportunities to help our beliefs become our reality! That’s why we want SPROCKLER to be accessible, useful and affordable for every organisation on earth.
Why we exist?
Our complex world
The speed of growing complexity in our world is high. Sustainable development depends on countless intertwined factors. Current reality doesn't behave according to plan and even the illusion of predictability seems lost forever. Our traditional methods of objective-based planning, blueprints, logical frameworks, and outcome-based progress measurement have severe limitations as they assume predictability. These traditional methods are not compatible with complex and interdisciplinary situations and serve our purpose less and less.
Technology and people
Current mobile and digital technologies make it possible to create ‘human sensor networks”: a significant number of people of interest engaged in registering their experiences on an important matter. This helps us understand what is emerging, so that decision-makers, funders, policy-makers or community leaders act in accordance with what is going on. A human sensor network can develop proactive foresight, i.e. the ability to sense what is likely to happen and then prepare for it (rather than giving retrospective insights).
Learning to adapt
In a complex world nothing is certain and we need to adapt all the time. This is what adaptive learning is all about. The idea is to be learning all the time, so that we become better at seeing and reading emerging signals. This is different from trying to render definitive judgments of success or failure (before or after a ‘project’). Furthermore, rapid feedback loops and openness to unanticipated changes that would have fallen outside a predetermined logic model provides critical insights – for all – into how interlocking strategies and systems combine to advance or impede progress towards positive impact.
People are often treated as passive sources of information rather than active sources of inspiration.
This happens in monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, or strategic planning. How many boring, inadequate, or misplaced questionnaires have you received? It is easy to ask people what they think, but they will not tell you a lot if they are not convinced that the problems they raise will ne addressed. People have valuable experiences to share if we can only engage and inspire them.
The inquiries that are held using SPROCKLER have the capacity to be integrated into daily life, meaningful for everybody, respectful of people’s time, evoking curiosity and fun. This is different from most surveys.
Therefore the following principles are key to SPROCKLER:
Truth belongs to many people, changes continuously, and is heavily shaded by each person’s incentives. Stories are the way humans use to make sense of the world around them. Numbers can tell you what happened, but only stories can tell you why it really happened.
We ask people to give meaning to their own experience (story). Self-signification enhances authenticity and correctness, and increases commitment of the respondent (ownership). It is the art of coming down to the self-interpreted essence of the story.
A collection of stories may disclose trends, threats or opportunities. Broad enough to inform an organisation’s strategic thinking (emerging themes) and real enough to provoke specific and immediate actions. Because of this, you can convey more information and more complicated information.
How often are you asked to fill out a survey, did it and was eventually informed about the final results, or even part of interpreting the data? If we are to inspire and engage people, keep them alert and active, make them wiser and more conscious, we need to share what we discovered, in an understandable manner. This enables adaptive learning to happen.
Sprockler as a philosophy and as a tool makes use of many inspiring sources. Here we mention a few.
The art of questioning
The art of questioning is something we learned from David Cooperrider, who is known for his research and applications on Appreciative Inquiry. Every sensemaking process begins with formulating and asking the right question. Without it, all the rest leads to suboptimal outcomes. The first step in starting a Sprockler Inquiy is coming up with the right question.
The work by Brenda Dervin and Karl Weick on Sensemaking, the process by which people give meaning to experience. The concept has been used to bring together insights drawn from human–computer interaction, to information science and to organizational studies.
The work of Cynthia Kurz and Dave Snowden draws on research about complex adaptive systems. The Cynefin Framework is and important and enlightening piece of work. They also digged into the use of narrative and complexity-informed techniques for gaining perspective in decision environments. Sprockler makes use of these insights.
Meetings that matter
Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff have mostly influenced us through their work around Future Search and especially its four design principles, that focus on enabling people to cooperate in complex situations, including those of high conflict and uncertainty. In the meetings around Sprockler we use these four design principles consistently.