Aims

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The AIMS approach which allows changes to take place with actants and interactions, with monitors in place to detect early signs of emergence for amplification or dampening.

  • Actants: Actants indicate anyone and anything that acts in a system. It goes beyond "actor" by including non-humans. An actant can mean a person and anything else that plays an active role, partially drawing from literary theory. Non-human actants can include, among others, material objects, technology, institutions, designs, beliefs, and practices. Human actants are actors. So all actors are actants, but not all actants are actors.
  • Interactions: Changing interactions to see what emerges is a key aspect of achieving change in a complex system. Methods are designed to change interactions, not to change people. In general, our approaches produce outcomes based on social construction within physical or virtual workshops, where a pattern of meaning emerges from multiple interactions over time.
  • Monitors: In complexity once we have initiated any change, we need to monitor the impact of that change, and how we can amplify or dampen it, monitoring for early signs of emergence and for other weak signals, including shifts in attitudes or behaviours. Human sensor networks are recommended in the EU Field guide as a general capability in advance, but there are multiple other options.
  • Scaffolding: Understanding, identifying, designing and managing scaffolding is one of the skills required to effectively manage complexity. In some ways, scaffolding can be a constraint or a constructor and we use it here more in a biological sense than a mechanical sense. It represents an underlying structure around which any self-organisation takes place... a hierarchy in an organisation is one type of scaffolding as are road traffic rules.