IIED workshop: managing change in complex social systems

Events, 16 June 2015

Join us for a workshop looking at the Participatory Innovation Model, a practical method for successful innovation in a complex world.

The population of Chile's capital city Santiago is over one third of the national total. Rapid growth and urbanisation bring complex challenges including managing air quality, road safety, and regional development (Photo: Nicolas Aracena, Creative Commons via Flickr)

How do you manage change in complex systems? IIED is hosting a workshop on 16 June to look at how an approach known as the "Participatory Innovation Model" (PIM) can be used to successfully introduce change. 

The model has been developed and successfully implemented across a wide range of social problems by Chilean researcher Dr Alfredo del Valle. At the workshop, Dr del Valle will be introducing the model and discussing its practical application.

High-complexity innovation problems involve large numbers of stakeholders, issues, disciplines and cultures. Many approaches to managing complex problems – including simplification, analysis/modelling and trial-and-error – may be authoritiarian and restrictive, and lack the capacity to handle high complexity.

The PIM approach deals with complexity through participation. It is grounded on Ashby's fundamental Law of Requisite Variety (1956), which establishes conditions for managing complexity in any system.

Complexity as a source of wealth

Dr del Valle's model considers social complexity as a source of wealth, accepts it in full, and faces it by means of high-variety tools and other elements: it is non-simplifying or non-reductionist. The model deals with every high-complexity problem by building a specific action system for changing realities: from the initial condition up to a mature or developed condition. 

The theory and methodology involve eight components, which will be presented in this workshop. Dr del Valle will be discussing his experiences using the model to address issues ranging from road safety, urban air quality and energy efficiency to innovation management, environmental management and regional development. 

The workshop has been jointly organised by CERES (the Agricultural Innovation Centre, of Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile), IIED and the Green Economy Coalition.

Event details

Date: Tuesday, 16 June, 2015
Time: 10am-12pm
Venue: The Meeting Place, IIED, 80 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8NH
To attend: Places are limited. Please contact Charlotte Forfieh (charlotte.forfieh@iied.org) to reserve your place
Guests should 
arrive for 9.30am coffee and networking. Lunch will be provided after the workshop.

About the speaker

Alfredo del Valle holds a Ph.D. in Social Systems Sciences from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Economics from New York University and a Civ. Eng. in Industrial Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. 

He has worked at United Nations agencies, business companies, universities, research centres, NGOs and government agencies. He is the author of 130 publications, mostly conference papers and invited presentations. 

In the 1980s Dr del Valle founded and led the Energy Research Program PRIEN, at Universidad de Chile, and in the 1990s he set up the Innovative Development Institute, a specialised consulting firm. He is currently a senior researcher at the Regional Centre for Innovation in Horticulture  CERES, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso.

In Chile he has done consulting work for a number of government agencies and business companies. His international clients and research sponsors include: CLARA, European Union, FAO, Ford Foundation, IDRC, UNDP, UNESCO, United Nations University, World Bank and World Energy Council.

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