Introducing Toolkit360, Impact360’s inclusive problem-solving toolkit. This set of tools supports natural hazards and disaster researchers and practitioners in solving wicked problems together to reduce future risks and impacts. Toolkit360 is a systematic, intentionally-developed framework of process strategies for amplifying the collective capacity of researchers and practitioners to climb the convergence pyramid together. Researchers and practitioners working together through Toolkit360 improve their mutual understanding of wicked natural hazards and disaster problems. This convergent work also increases their potential to create shared strategies for reducing those problems.
Toolkit360 includes twelve tools, which are participatory process strategies, for iteratively bridging the problem and solution spaces associated with natural hazards and disaster problem-solving. Each tool can be used to facilitate different levels of engagement up the convergence pyramid depending on the situation, from communication all the way up to co-creation.
Toolkit360 supports deepening understanding of the problem space between researchers and practitioners using six tools for 1) situation assessment, 2) stakeholder discovery, 3) participant casting, 4) participant alignment, 5) joint review, and 6) complex system representation. Here are the problem space tools of Toolkit360:
- [Re]Assess (the problem space and specific situation)
- [Re]Discover (those who are working on and affected by the problem)
- [Re]Cast (those involved in the problem-solving)
- [Re]Align (participants with shared understandings, language, and goals)
- [Re]View (existing scholarly, practical, and local knowledge)
- [Re]Present (a holistic understanding of the emergent complex system)
Researchers and practitioners working together through the problem space tools typically start with [Re]Assess and end with [Re]Present. Additional iterations of a single tool or the entire cycle may be done depending on the contentiousness of a situation, complexity of the problem, or misalignment of participants. Toolkit360 tools are modular, however, so not all of them are necessary in all situations, for example, if there is already a fixed interdisciplinary group of highly-functional participants.
Toolkit360 supports convergence to evidence-based solution strategies using six additional tools for 7) cognitive reframing, 8) integrative interpretation, 9) generative thinking, 10) shaping rapid prototypes, 11) resolving hypotheses, and 12) strategic planning. Here are the solution space tools of Toolkit360:
- [Re]Frame (the problem and situation to transform thinking)
- [Re]Interpret (understanding of the problem to create opportunities)
- [Re]Generate (evidence-based concepts from understanding and creative ideas)
- [Re]Shape (prototypes that reveal risky assumptions and desirable benefits)
- [Re]Solve (assumptions and benefits through prototype testing and refinement)
- [Re]Integrate (the resolved concept into a feasible and viable strategy)
A cycle through the solution space process typically starts with [Re]Frame and ends with [Re]Integrate. Additional iterations can be done depending on participants’ willingness to be intellectually humble, solutions agnostic, and pragmatic. The ultimate goal of going through the Toolkit360 tools is to inclusively design strategies reduce natural hazard impacts and disaster risk that are desirable, feasible, and viable.
You might be wondering why each tool name starts with “[Re].” Two reasons: The “[Re]” reminds us that to make progress on wicked problems, researchers and practitioners need to experience anew and continuously iterate–and do so together. To do inclusive problem-solving, researchers and practitioners have to see, think about, and do things they are already familiar with in fresh unfamiliar ways. Click To TweetThis is so they can collectively reveal new understandings of the problem and opportunities for solving. Sustained iteration is necessary because, technically, wicked problems can’t be solved entirely and so have to be worked on continuously. And just so, Toolkit360 and its tools are meant to facilitated iteratively to foster researcher-practitioner convergence.
We’ll be telling you more about Toolkit360 and how to use it for inclusive problem-solving. It is central to meeting our pillars, supporting our members, and providing our services for supporting researchers and practitioners, like you, to reduce natural hazard impacts and disaster risk. So, we’ll be telling you a lot more for quite a while.