Managing complex issues

Anna Samoylova

What are we researching?

How do you deal with a complex issue? How do you steer such complex issues from multi-problem families to climate change and energy transition? Our research seeks answers to these questions. We study how you can successfully manage complex issues.

Why and how are we doing this research?

Although many social problems have been tackled, we still face complex issues regarding climate change, energy transition, and multi-problem families. It is often unclear what works and who should do what. A one-party approach does not work with these issues. Long-term commitment from multiple parties is needed, and their efforts must reinforce each other. This often fails: the temperature and energy consumption continue to rise, and multi-problem families do not get rid of their problems. Our research shows that there is often a lack of control. The work is too fragmented, and people do not complement each other but (unintentionally) work against each other. With the help of our research, we provide building blocks for better management.

How does our research make an impact?

We conduct research in cooperation with stakeholders. In this way, we directly involve the users of the knowledge to learn from the research results together with us gradually.

For example, we have worked with more than 100 parties on developing climate policy in Rotterdam. The process was guided by those directly involved, and the results were presented to them.

Our report on the study of multi-problem families was presented and discussed with various stakeholders using the same approach.

A challenge in managing complex issues remains that many people appreciate the insights, but no one seems able to change how they work independently. Every organization involved focuses primarily on its own interests and less on the common good. We want to build a bridge between the different organizations based on that common interest with our approach.

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