Personal Blog of Joe Brewer

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Design Better Systems by Questioning Your Theory of Change

In Complex Systems, Design Science, Human Behavior, Social Change on May 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

A major consideration in the design of large-scale systems is that humans have to interact with them.  Want to create a massive transportation system for your city?  People need to take the bus or feel safe jumping on their bikes.  Seeking to build a regional food system?  Someone’s got to grow the food and deliver it.  Someone else has to pick it up and prepare it for dinner.  Every time a “grand vision” is put in play for changing the world, there is an implicit assumption that people will participate in the alteration or replacement of an existing system.

So how DO people interact with changing systems?  That’s a question that has frustrated many a system designer.  Engineers in the IT world know only too well how difficult it is to build software that people can use (or, just as important, that customers prefer over someone else’s software).  Transportation policy experts have been baffled by the ways people choose to get around despite the design choices that went into the blueprints for that rapid bus system or congestion traffic lane.  And political activists have been bewildered by the voting behaviors of so many otherwise intelligent people who behave so strangely when election season comes around. Continue reading “Design Better Systems by Questioning Your Theory of Change” »

The Best Reading List You’ll Ever Find for Cognitive Science and Social Change

In Complex Systems, Global Integration, Human Behavior, Social Change, Video Blog on May 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Interested in learning cognitive science to solve global problems?  Here’s the best reading list you’ll find to help you do it!  Since writing articles like Want to Change the World? Study Cognitive Science! and Five Things to Make Large-Scale Behavior Change, and recording videos to explain The Great Blind Spot for Sustainability and Where Rational Choice Theory Comes From, I’ve received a lot of requests from people who want to learn more about cognitive and behavioral science.

So in the spirit of open innovation, I’m sharing my reading list.  Check out this video to learn about more than 50 books you can pick up and start reading any time you want to.  They have greatly expanded my understanding of human nature, morality, and the mind so that I can help design transition tools for global civilization.

This intellectual journey brought me to the point last year where I announced that I want to create a new field of research in Human-Centered Design for Global Change.  You can learn more about it by following these links:

Please let me know if I can be helpful to you in your quest for more knowledge.  It’s been incredibly fulfilling to unlock so many secrets about humanity and the dynamic universe we are a part of.  Enjoy!