News

2014

System Improvement Process Paper Submitted

A paper on Building a Foundational Framework for Sustainability Science with Root Cause Analysis and the System Improvement Process was submitted to PLOS One.

2013

The WorldChange Model

Here's a little Christmas present. Thwink.org has added a change resistance subsystem to the World3 model of Limits to Growth. The result is the WorldChange model. If we want to change the world, then we need to model how to overcome change resistance. That's exactly what the model does.

New Video - Change Resistance and the Dueling Loops

A 29 minute YouTube video on Adding Change Resistance to Integrated Global Models was produced. The video explains why change resistance needs to be modeled and how a change resistance subsystem can be added to highly influential integrated models like Climate Interactive's C-ROADS and the Limits to Growth's WORLD3. The highlight of the video is a close look at how The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace model works, with emphasis on the main root cause of successful change resistance.

Root Cause Analysis Paper Submitted

A paper on Finding True North at the U.S. EPA with Root Cause Analysis was submitted to Sustainability Science. Update - The paper was rejected. The reason was "there is not enough new analysis or insight." Hmmmm. We sure don't see it that way.

Common Property Rights Paper Submitted

A paper on Solving the environmental proper coupling subproblem with Common Property Rights was submitted to Ecological Economics. Update - It was rejected and has been submitted to Global Environmental Change.

Thwink.org Presents Program on Root Cause Analysis

Thwink.org presented a program on "Applying Root Cause Analysis to the Sustainability Problem" to the Metro Atlanta Group of the Sierra Club. The response was fantastic. After a brief overview of how Root Cause Analysis can be used to explain why the Sierra Club is not as effective as it needs to be, we broke up into small groups to discuss the details. Discussion was intense, so much so that it became the longest meeting ever held by the group and ran quite late. Below is the meeting announcement:

Meeting announcement

Fundamental Forces Paper Submitted

Researching and writing a paper for an A level peer reviewed journal is a lot of work. After much effort, we have submitted a paper on Finding the Fundamental Forces of the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis to the Global Environmental Change journal. Let's wait and see if it's accepted or not. - Update: It was rejected due to being too broad and not enough evidence. It will be reworked and submitted to another journal.

2012

Three Brochures Released

In preparation for the upcoming EcoSummit 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, US, we have prepared three brochures. These are the best short introduction to what matters the most at Thwink.org.

Thwink.org Invited to Give US EPA Webinar on Root Cause Analysis

As a result of the conference described below, Tom Fontaine of the US EPA has invited Jack Harich to give an EPA webinar. 100 to 200 people are expected to participate. The topic is the same as the paper presented at the conference below, with emphasis on HOW Root Cause Analysis can be applied to the sustainability problem. The webinar is not yet scheduled but will probably be in October.

Thwink.org Attends Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference

Scott Durlacher and Jack Harich attended the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Portland, Oregon, US, July 31 to August 3, 2012. Scott gave the paper presentation talk. The paper, on Solving the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis, was received with small amounts of interest. Scott and Jack had many conversations about it and the work at Thwink.org. Scott in particular made many contacts which we are following up. More.

Two Thwink.org Proposals Accepted for Conference

Proposals for a paper and working group have been accepted for the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Portland, Oregon, US, July 31 to August 3, 2012. The paper title is Solving the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis. The working group topic is Resolving a Key Root Cause with Common Property Rights. This is big news, because it's a golden opportunity to spread the paradigm of root cause analysis to the academic community.

First Poster Released

The Common Property Rights project is rolling right along. To help that rolling stone start rolling faster we've created a striking poster. Titled "Strike at the Root", the poster describes why it's essential for all of us to Strike at the Root.

Commenting System Added to the Website

Up until now the page conversation on Thwink.org has been one way. There's no easy way to discuss the 130 some pages on the site. Now there is. Thanks to the fine software made by Livefyre, we now have an excellent commenting system. Give it a try! - UPDATE: No one commented for a month, so the commenting system was removed. A curious result.

Thwink Applies for Working Group at Conference

On April 15 Thwink sent in an application for a paper presentation and working group at the 2012 Ecosystem Services Partnership conference. It's in Portland, Oregon, US on July 31 to August 4. The proposed paper is "Solving the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis." The proposed working group is "Resolving a Key Root Cause with Common Property Rights." This is an unusual conference in that it's not paper centric. Instead, it centers on working groups. Each group tries to solve a specific problem as the above link explains. We hope to be accepted because that would really push the Common Property Rights project. Wish us luck!

Thwink Attends the "Weekend for Rivers" Conference

Thwink participated in the Georgia River Network's Weekend for Rivers conference. On Saturday Jack and Martha staffed a table chock full of Thwink.org material and attended various sessions. The turnout was about 80 people, from the dozen riverkeepers in Georgia. This event was part of the project below. On Sunday Jack paddled the Chattahoochee River with 40 other kayaks and canoes. It was a weekend of many delightful new friendships.

Common Property Rights Project Starts

Thwink is at last moving from fundamental to applied research. We're initiating a real project with a real solution. It's the most mature and ready-to-implement of the 12 solution elements that emerged from the analysis. It's Common Property Rights.

The place to start is the Bringing the Power of the Law to Environmental Stewardship pamphlet. For more see the project page.

New Website Design Released

The website has been completely redesigned and mostly rewritten. This will allow visitors to more quickly find what they are looking for and understand it. The site is more focused. The glossary is the foundation of the site and has been completely rewritten with new entries added. The big blue arrow menu bar uses "mega dropdowns" to let you quickly skim what the site has to offer, thereby getting the big picture in seconds.

2011

A Little Story about Corporate Dominance Article Released

The article uses editorial cartoon style illustrations to vividly paint what is in fact a technical article. The article immediately became the most popular page on the site, due to its timely nature. This is related to an experiment. Jack is working with a local Move to Amend group to see if the Thwink concepts can help.

Update - They didn't help. Classic activists tend to be extremely resistant to any other way of seeing their world. Sigh. But once again, perhaps we have planted seeds that will grow. There was some initial enthusiasm about root cause analysis and the ideas in the above article.

New Website Design Begins

Work has begun on a redesign and rewrite of the Thwink.org website. This is a complete rewrite of all pages plus addition of new pages, in order to better focus and convey our message. The page layout will also be overhauled. Mega menus will be used for navigation. The project is expected to take six months.

New Article - New Tools for Smart CSOs

This article was written especially for the Great Transition and Smart CSOs initiatives.

Four Pamphlets Completed

As an experiment in how to get the message across more effectively, four pamphlets have been created. These are now on the All Pamphlets page.

Common Property Rights Book Completed at Last

The final draft of the Common Property Rights book was completed. Thanks to all for your feedback. Now we've got to get the book out there, into the right hands....

2010

First Draft of Common Property Rights Book Completed

The first draft of the Common Property Rights book was completed. This has become the writeup for ten years of research so crafting the book is a big project.

Research Project in Australia Moving Forward

The second virtual meeting on the Common Property Rights research project in Australia was held. The third is scheduled for December 2. Philip Bangerter is managing the project. Meetings consist of 4 or 5 researchers discussing project progress and actions. Currently the main work centers on publishing two more papers. Once these are accepted the next step is initial funding.

Another Video Released

The second video on Common Property Rights was released. This covers the seven components.

"Strong Support" for Research Project in Australia

The final kickoff meeting concerning a Common Property Rights project in Australia was held. There were three researchers, plus Philip Bangerter and Jack Harich. Results: "There is strong support for further development of this project among all on the call. Joseph has also offered his support to the concept in a previous call. It is clearly ambitious and will be a project portfolio at least, once we have the expected momentum and some funding." The next step is planning and funding.

Key Video Released

The first video on Common Property Rights was released. This is much better and replaces the one below.

YouTube Video Released

A ten minute high definition YouTube video on Introduction to Common Property Rights (CPR) was completed. This the first in a series intended for researchers interested in evaluating the concept. CPR is so novel it's proven to be hard to grasp, so much new research and synthesis, including a new causal flow model, an improved simulation model, and review of the work of several influential economists, has been done. The series will analyze CPR and explain why it's so different from other solutions using these materials.

Project Similar to Common Property Rights Steward Moves Forward

In Virginia, US, the Rappahannock Watershed Business Council met to move two projects forward: a Marketplace or Exchange 2.0, facilitating and tracking the sale of River/Bay-Friendly products and services, and a Cooperative/Utility buying “high efficiency” restoration projects throughout the basin. The latter is a Common Property Rights steward. The next meeting is scheduled for early August.

Interest in Australia Picks Up

Philip Bangerter reports that the director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development at the University of Southern Queensland is supporting the initiation of "A proposed project to parallel a US initiative in common property rights for environmental stewardship." If this or the proposal mentioned below leads to an actual project, it will mark the first ever application of the concepts at Thwink.org.

Proposal in Virginia Incorporates Concept of Common Property Rights

Michael Collins has proposed a project in Virginia, US, that incorporates the concept of common property rights.

The Common Property Rights Book Begins

A small book on common property rights has begun, in order to mature and better communicate this concept. (This later grew into a bigger book.)

Work on Application of Common Property Rights Concept

Jack Harich visited Michael Collins in Virginia for two weeks to work on an application of Common Property Rights. Michael has a project going that will benefit from incorporation of this concept. Michael read the Change Resistance as the Crux paper and contacted Jack, which led to collaboration.

Change Resistance as the Crux Paper Published

The Change Resistance as the Crux paper has been published. This is important news, because at last there is peer review recognition of the value of some of the work at Thwink.org.

2009

Change Resistance as the Crux Paper Accepted

After one resubmission, Change Resistance as the Crux of the Environmental Sustainability Problem has been accepted for publication in the System Dynamics Review. A big thanks to all those who helped on this.

Finally a Paper Is Not Rejected

Good news! Over the last five years Thwink.org has submitted 5 popular environmental magazine article queries, 2 book proposals, and 2 peer review journal articles. All were rejected. Now, our fortune may have changed. Our third peer review journal submission has not been rejected! Instead, we received a note saying "A revised version of your manuscript that takes into account the comments of the referee(s) will be reconsidered for publication." Now there's lots of work to be done on polishing Change Resistance as the Crux.

2008

After Much Work, Another Paper Submitted

A paper on change resistance has been submitted to a peer reviewed journal. This is our third attempt. The first two were rejected. This time Steve Wehrenberg has been kind enough to review early drafts, so we have a much better chance of acceptance.

Dueling Loops Paper Rejected

A journal submission of a academic treatment of the Dueling Loops paper was rejected. The feedback was extremely helpful and we are now rewriting it.

Go North Young Man

It's official. Jack will be traveling to Canada in March to meet/work with Philip Bangerter and Hatch, on a project that may eventually lead to a serious effort to apply the Thwink paradigm to the sustainability problem.

2007

Dueling Loops Paper Receives Its First Review

The Dueling Loops paper received it first review, on this blog.

The Bigger Problem

Philip has started a crucial thread on the forum concerning the need for an organization "for the bigger problem this forum talks about."

Book Proposal Submitted and Rejected

A book proposal for Process Is Everything was submitted to Island Press.

Update November 5 - It was rejected with no explanation. If you know of a publisher or literary agent who might be interested, please let us know.

Blog Started and Stopped

The Daily Analysis blog style column was added to all Thwink.org pages. This adds fresh, productive information to those who keep returning to the site for a deeper look at this new way of thwinking. It also draws newcomers into the site via smaller, easier to digest read bites. A big thanks to Robert Gowans for suggesting this improvement.

Update: It was removed after a one week experiment, as explained here.

A Change in Website Management and Message Marketing

Robert Gowans of Tyresö, Sweden will be taking over website management and internet marketing of the Thwink message. Rob has a number of promising strategies he will be using, which you can read about in this forum thread.

Update: Due to a sudden health problem in his family, this is all on hold.

Moving Forward in Australia

Jack Harich of Thwink and Philip Bangerter of Hatch in Brisbane, Australia had a phone meeting on "realignment." Philip explained that after getting through a period at Hatch where he was unable to devote any time to promoting the Thwink paradigm, he is now in a favorable position to do so. He will be proceeding to do three things: (1) Sell his new boss on the Thwink approach, which should be straightforward, (2) Meet with 5 to 10 of Australia's leaders in the field of sustainability to sell them, and (3) Start serious work on getting funding for a project along the lines of The Diagnostic Project. This is very good news. Jack explained how film one is perfect for (1) and (2). Philip is eagerly awaiting the film.

Cracking the Mystery of the Progressive Paradox Released

The full length film Cracking the Mystery of the Progressive Paradox was released. This is expected to make the Thwink message ten times as easy to understand as papers, books, and web pages. Early testing shows this to be true.

Dueling Loops Book Proposal Rejected

Chelsea Green said no on publishing the Dueling Loops book. They also had no comment on why. This seems to indicate that even the most qualified publisher of political/environmental books in the world was unable to grasp the new paradigm of the book. Probably no publisher will, until we can find someone who can personally explain to them. All this is to be expected. It's part of the systemic change resistance side of the problem and the phenomenon of being unable to comprehend any paradigm but the one you are living in.

Dueling Loops Book Proposal Requested

Chelsea Green, our preferred publisher for the Dueling Loops book, has replied favorably to an email conversation we've been having. They have requested a copy of the book for review. Preparing the "final" manuscript is where all our attention is going now. Several readers have been extremely helpful in making it a better book.

Dueling Loops Available on Amazon

A pre-publication copy of The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace has appeared on Amazon. If you've read it, post an honest review. This will help those who have not previously heard about the book.

Philip Visits Jack and Ray

Philip Bangerter visited Jack in Atlanta again. While in town he had lunch with Ray Anderson, the foremost proponent of sustainability in the business world. Ray agreed to visit Australia to make a speech at the opening of one of Hatch's new offices, and gave Philip a few sustainability contacts.

Philip and Michael Come to Atlanta

Philip Bangerter and Michael Hollcraft came to Atlanta for a few days, in the first serious meeting for how we can move these concepts forward. Things are happening. Keep up with them on this thread and others on the forum.

2006

Analytical Activism Completed

The manuscript to Analytical Activism is now complete. Copies have been mailed off for critical reviews. You can request a copy or download and print one yourself.

Dueling Loops Book Started

The most popular paper on the site, The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace, is about to become a book. If you would like to provide feedback before it goes off to the publisher, download it, read it, and let us know how we can make it a better book.

Thwink Selected as Editor's Pick

Thwink.org has been selected as an Editor's Pick at the list of links for the Science and Research section on Sustainability at EcoEarth.Info. Out of 30 links listed in this section, 7 were Editor's Picks. Besides Thwink.org, these are the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Worldwatch Institute, the Earth Institute, the Forum on Science and Technology for Sustainability, the Global Change Master Directory, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nice company to be in!

The Big Push Is Over! Last Chapter Completed in Analytical Activism

Solution Factories, the final chapter in Analytical Activism, is now complete. The ideas that have emerged from development of this chapter have caused Thwink.org to cast itself as the world's first solution factory. Read the chapter to see for yourself how germane that outlandish title may be.

Glossary of Key Concepts Added

The Glossary of Key Concepts has been added to Thwink.org. This is a major document running about 30 pages, with 50 terms and short essays on each term. Finally, in one place you can read what is actually The Problem Solvers Guide to Difficult Complex Social System Problems. Also on this date the forum link was added because, good news, the forum is now open!

Article Published in the Club of Rome's Newsletter

The Club of Rome's internal newsletter has published the analysis mentioned below. The title is Can These Best Practices Make the Club Effective Once Again?

Sierra Club's Harvard Project Critiqued

Critique of the Harvard Project - This illustrates how the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, if we do not follow an analytical process when attempting to solve difficult problems.

Accepted into the Club of Rome... and then Booted Right Out

Jack was accepted into The US Association of the Club of Rome. This is expected to open the door to working with some very high caliber people on the sustainability problem, at the national and international level.

Update - After Can These Best Practices Make the Club Effective Once Again? was published in the clubs international newsletter, Jack was booted out of the US branch of the club. The ostensible reason given was there wasn't a quorum of the board when his membership was approved. The problem was all with the US branch, who doesn't exactly enjoy self-reform. The international organization was a pleasure to work with.

2005

Dueling Loops Paper Completed

The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace paper was completed. This very readable paper describes the most important discovery so far: the existence of a fundamental social structure that lies at the very heart of why resistance to adopting a solution to the global environmental sustainability problem is so strong.

A Sierra Club Group Spreads These Ideas

On August 18 the Greater Gwinnett County group of Georgia mailed copies of How the Environmental Movement Can Find Its Way Again to 60 some chapters, 30 some field offices, all 15 board members, and all 7 members of the executive group. This is the first tangible change project to apply these ideas to an environmental organization.

Breaking the Thirty Year Deadlock: The Three Essays

A three part article series summarizing A Model in Crisis (a book in progress) is now available. The articles later became the first three chapters of the Analytical Activism book.

How to Overcome Resistance to Solution Adoption

This key chapter has been completed. It presents a sample solution to the social side of the problem, which is the crux of solving the entire problem. The solution is presented as a collection of solution elements, a simulation model showing the effect of these elements, and a high level implementation plan. The chapter contains two small and quite pleasant surprises. It is in part 2 of Analytical Activism.

Update - The chapter morphed into several others and disappeared, as the analysis proceeded.

A Model in Crisis Gets an Overview

At the suggestion of a manuscript reader, a one page executive summary of A Model in Crisis has been added. This is available as a single page PDF file for a quick read.

Update - The A Model in Crisis book was never finished, due to extreme change in the problem solving process used. The books contents became less and less relevant. However, the journey was worthwhile.

The Fallacy of Sustainable Development

This chapter has been completed for A Model in Crisis. It must be read with an open mind, because it argues that the world's leading solution to the global environmental sustainability problem is fallacious.

Book Outline Redesigned

Rather than publish updates as frequently, I've been using those extra minutes to work. The book outline has been redesigned to be in four parts, which are the same as the four steps in the System Improvement Process. Many new chapters have been written, including one with a rather interesting computer simulation model.

A second book is born

Due to feedback and very strong interest in the three part article series mentioned below, it looks best to take these articles, turn them into chapters, add a few more, and call it Analytical Activism.

2004

Inching Towards Truth Ratings

If we had truth ratings today they could, and probably would, determine the outcome of the November 2, 2004 election in the United States.

Freedom From Falsehood

Here's a timely essay PDF for those concerned about the large amount of hype and fallacies in politics. This incorporates some of the ideas from A Model in Crisis. The thesis is that "The press is allowing a large amount of deception to occur in the political arena and elsewhere. ... A possible solution is creation of the new right of Freedom from Falsehood."

Autumn Reflections at Stone Mountain Park

A beautiful autumn at Stone Mountain Park, Georgia, US. Or is it Giverny?