Posts

DPSIR = A Problem Structuring Method? An Exploration from the ‘‘Imagine’’ Approach

Abstract:
The Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact and Response or DPSIR framework has been with us for over a decade now and it is widely used as a means to assess and measure and, eventually provide a guide to managing the environment. With its repertoire of diagnostic and analytical components the DPSIR can be argued to be a Problem Structuring Method or PSM. Criticisms of the framework abound but it has a resilience which is noteworthy. Some argue that DPSIR, by its nature, is a narrowly formulated, engineering device, incompatible with the multiple perspectives which human interaction in global ecology requires. Is there a value in DPSIR being more flexible in expression and experience of users? In this article it is shown how the DPSIR framework was applied within a multi-methodology approach called Imagine in a number of coastal management projects around the Mediterranean and in other contexts. The article argues that DPSIR, whilst admittedly limited in its scope and approach can, if applied in a participatory and systemic multi-methodology, combine with other tools and help to create outcomes of value to local populations.

DPSIR Framework Simon Bell

Science Direct Link

Bell, S. (2012). DPSIR = A Problem Structuring Method? An exploration from the ‘‘Imagine’’ approach. European Journal of Operational Research. 222, pp. 230 – 360.

Groups and Facilitators within Problem Structuring Processes

Abstract:

Groups and facilitators within problem structuring processes Simon Bell
In problem structuring methods, facilitators often ask of themselves questions such as: what makes a ‘good’ problem structuring group (PSG) and indeed what does ‘good’ mean? How can group dynamics be improved and does it matter in terms of the quality of the problem structuring that that group engages in? On the surface these questions seem to be straightforward. Indeed, those who have helped facilitate many participatory workshops will think they intuitively know the answers to these questions; they can, from their professional practice, ‘feel’ which PSGs are doing well and producing novel insights and those which are functioning less well and perhaps generating something that is less imaginative and more routine as a consequence. The intuitive, practice-learned insight will depend upon a rich array of visual signals that become more obvious with experience. This paper asks whether there is value in being much more open and analytical about these questions and answers. If so, then how can we make the unwritten processes and outcomes of PSGs written? Indeed, open to whom? Finally, how much of any insights learned by facilitators should be shared with those engaged in workshops?

Springer Link

Bell, S. and Morse, S. 2013. Groups and facilitators within problem structuring processes. Journal of the Operational Research Society. 64, pp. 959 -972

Towards Understanding Problem Structuring and Groups with Triple Task Methodology ‘e’

Abstract:

Towards Understanding Problem Structuring and Groups with Triple Task Methodology ‘e’ Simon BellThe many issues which confront Problem Structuring Groups (PSGs) engaging in applying problem structuring methods (PSMs) are well reported in the literature. Often group problem structuring work is well organised around an array of processes and methods which has received wide-ranging testing in the field however, the assessment of the group in terms of its output, group dynamic and self-assessment tends to be handled piecemeal at best. Triple task methodology (TTM) has been described as a means to manage the three group assessments— group output, dynamic and self-assessment in one frame. In this paper an experimental version of TTM (TTMe) is described in use in an Education project setting in Abu Dhabi. It was intended to make TTM less cumbersome and time consuming and, at the same time, more systemically integrated, a significant objective being to make it easier to use by practitioners who have not used it before or who have only small prior use of group assessment methods. The paper describes the application of TTMe, provides an overall assessment of the value of the exercise, discusses the outputs of the group work and points to the value of TTMe in identifying and clarifying unique group qualities or signatures. The major contribution of the paper is to bring to PSG processes a degree of rapid, non-specialist, empirically comparable assessment on the richness of the group use of PSMs.

Springer Link

Bell, S., Mahroum, S. and Yassin, N. (2016). Towards understanding problem structuring and groups with triple task methodology ‘e’. Journal of the Operational Research Society. doi:10.1057/s41274-016-0017-2