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Suggested reading list
Here are some of my favourite papers, books and articles that relate in some way to complex problem solving, but be aware it was a tough choice to select only these for inclusion in this list! Hundreds of other references inspired, informed or validated our approach to complex problem solving. They are given within the modules of the online course.
What is Strategy?, Porter, Michael E., Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1996, pp.61-78 [one of very few resources that discusses the difference between a strategy and a system, see also online modules 6, 19, 20, 21, 30]
Towards a theory of strategy: Art Lykke and the Army War College Strategy Model, Yarger, H.R., http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army-usawc/stratpap.htm [one of the best papers on strategy I’ve read. Essential reading. Written in a military context but the ideas are highly transferrable to other contexts. I use this model for strategy for all my work].
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters, Richard Rumelt, Profile Books, 2012 [I thoroughly enjoyed most of this book. While it is written primarily for a business audience, it is one of the few books about strategy that identifies the critical components of any effective strategy, including the need for a strategy to be a coherent set of actions which are grounded in a deep understanding of the situation.]
Why A Strategy is not a Plan, 2 November 2013, The Economist, http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21588834-strategies-too-often-fail-because-more-expected-them-they-can-deliver-why [a shorter read than the book this article reviews (Strategy: A History, by Lawrence Freedman, Oxford University Press), and highlights a critical point about contemporary strategy].
System Failure: Why Governments must learn to think differently, Jake Chapman, DEMOS, 2nd edition, 2004 [a wonderful collection of insights and examples of systems thinking in public policy]
Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Donella Meadows, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008 [a systems thinking classic and my favourite on this topic. This book changes how many people think.]
The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge, Doubleday, 1990 [a systems thinking classic]
Today’s problems, yesterday’s toolkit, ANZSOG, Noveck, B., and R. Glover, 13 August 2019, https://www.anzsog.edu.au/preview-documents/publications-and-brochures/5425-today-s-problems-yesterday-s-toolkit/file (an excellent resource that is written primarily for a public sector audience, but whose relevance is much broader)
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, Tim Brown, Harper Collins, 2009 [The best book on design thinking I’ve read. I add to the ideas in the online short course.]
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Heath, C., and D. Heath, Random House Business Books, 2011 [essential reading for anyone trying to change something]
Complexity: A Guided Tour, Melanie Mitchell, Oxford University Press, 2009 [a fascinating introduction to complexity science]
How To Think – A Guide for the Perplexed, Alan Jacobs, Profile Books, 2018 [thoughtful little book, most of which I thoroughly agree with]
Made to Stick, Heath, C. and D. Heath, Arrow Books, 2008 [essential reading for everyone, about how to communicate effectively]
Farnam Street Blog, Shane Parish’s blog on thinking, https://fs.blog/ [also essential reading… I never get enough time to read all Shane’s posts but wish I did]
Evidence-based policy making: What is it? How do we get it?, Banks, G., ANZSOG/ANU Lecture series, 4 February 2009, https://www.pc.gov.au/news-media/speeches/cs20090204 [My favourite paper on evidence-based policy]
The Art of Public Strategy: Mobilizing Knowledge and Power for the Common Good, Geoff Mulgan, Oxford University Press, 2009 [plenty of good ideas]
The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, Amanda Ripley, Simon and Schuster, 2013 [thought-provoking book for anyone interested in education]