Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis
a/k/a "The Win/Win-Finder"

How Also To Discover Your Sources of Support & Opposition

I/E Analysis is the most recent major creative problem-solving system to find its way into world use. It was first introduced into public use in 1987 by this writer, at the annual Creative Problem-Solving Institute in Buffalo, New York, where some form of it has been practiced each year since. I/E Analysis has turned out to be far more than only a very good system for solving problems, and we will explore some of its other uses after the instructions below. First, we present it as a group creative solution-finding procedure.

As a group procedure, I/E Analysis works by far the best when conducted under the provisions of "Dynamic Format," as in the preceding pages above.

The first 7 steps of I/E Analysis require, the first time tried, between 1 and 3 hours, and subsequently can be performed in about half to three quarters of an hour. The duration of Step # 8 is a function of other variables, these mostly being the prior experience of participants, and can run between a few minutes and several hours.

The Basis of Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis:

* Problems which last awhile, despite varied good efforts to solve them - especially problems in the firm or in society involving large numbers of people - are usually situations in equilibrium. By definition, this means that these are in self-defending homeostasis or sociostasis. Self-balancing, they reflexively maintain themselves, often in complex or sophisticated ways.

* Identify and intercept the reflexive negative feedbacks by means of which a homeostatic situation or system maintains its equilibrium, and you can change that system almost without effort, with low cost in energy or money. To override that reflexive feedback is what drives up costs and makes solving that problem situation expensive, difficult or impossible.

* Problems which are major, especially problems which involve many people, subsist from the behaviors--usually reflexive, usually undertaken for wholly different conscious motives than are the unconscious motives which are controlling--the behaviors of many people in that self-equilibrating situation.

* Defining those equilibria, or goals of self-sustaining balance--and also very useful to analyze--are the incentives acting upon the margins of decision of anyone who relates to that problem, either in that problem or "in the wings."

* Needing special recognition: the tendency of most complexly sociostatic situations to retain and restore equilibrium by unconscious reflex, regardless of the conscious motives of those involved. --Just as the homeostatic physical human body maintains its million-and-one complex balances by unconscious reflex, leaving the person's conscious mind free to address other issues than those of maintaining proper fluid levels, pumping just the right amount of noradrenaline, etc. This is a structural, mathematical identity of behaviors, between organisms and social arrangements. This is not the organic "fallacy of composition" of which Oswald Spenglar was accused. It is the behavior of certain types of structure whether found in organisms or in society, with which we are concerned here.

Acerbation Factor:

Others looking on, or those adversely affected by the continuance or chronic return of the problem situation, assume that the controlling motives which direct people in those system-reflexive behaviors are conscious. They make severely negative judgments about the (presumedly) conscious motives of those who keep the problem going. These judgments are almost always highly insulting as well as inaccurate, and engender the hostilities so frequently featured in major problem equilibria.

We too often fail to note or remember the very great difference between the roles people are playing--which relate to those social structural problem equilibria--and the human beings who happen to be playing these roles. We stereotype these roles and throw them back in each other's faces, instead of seeking out our common ground as human beings, making it almost impossible to step aside from those roles even if it should occur to us to do so.

I/E Analysis lets us look directly at these role reflexive behaviors, without the need to impugn anyone's conscious motives, to judge these systematic/mechanical factors as distinct from, and potentially very different from, the human dimensions of the same problem domain.

Without assuming like Marx did as to the conscious motives of various interests and groups in a given situation (and without a reductio as absurdum around some rigid economic theory!), it is useful to address those unconscious reflexive responses which are held in relation to identified factional interests, within the particular problem context. In doing so, Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis also leads us toward finding bases of solution which do not sacrifice anyone's interests, conscious or unconscious.

Another Acerbation Factor: Idealists PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!!---

Wouldn't the world be so much better if good people everywhere stepped back from these system-reflex roles and "did the right thing?" Even if they could become aware enough to do so, or were good-hearted and generous enough that you could persuade them to sacrifice their own interests in doing what you want them to even for high-minded idealistic is the difficulty.

Where large numbers of people are involved, and especially in hierarchical and complex situations, there tends to develop a very great difference between what benefits the common good and what will benefit one's own narrowly selfish interests.

Where such a difference exists, necessarily: persons motivated by self-interest will advance--and at the expense of people who are motivated by what would benefit the whole.

To the extent such a difference is allowed to exist (or where you are very persuasive), such situations necessarily punish humanitarian and "higher" motivations. You can reduce to some extent that difference and that punishment, but you cannot entirely eliminate it--if what benefited selfish interest entirely benefited also the common good, the "selfish" would resemble the humanitarian and could not thereby be sorted out in favor of the humanitarian; in all other cases the situation sorts out the humanitarian in favor of the selfish. If you are very persuasive to the point where people on the other side of an issue from you go against their own interests, you soon run out of friends and potential friends.

To reduce such punishment--and to reduce the attrition of the higher-minded--reduce the difference between what benefits the individual and what benefits the whole. One way to achieve this is to address problem equilibria with the "Win/Win-Finder" aspect of I/E Analysis as below. Reduce the sacrifice of those who are motivated by or responsive to higher concerns. This frees them - and more people generally - to act on their higher and conscious motivations, and reduce the power and role of system-reflex, unconscious, inadmissible motivations. People become better people and more of the better people survive. Widespread use of the "Win/Win-Finder" thus tends us toward a less bruising and more rational, sensible world.

Detailed Step-By-Step Instructions For Performing Incentive/Equilibrium Analysis:

You need--
* a group of 2 or more people besides yourself. Hundreds can "play," subdivided into groups of from 4 to 6 persons each.
* Plenty of "Post-It" pads, and pens or markers and notepads enough to go around.
* A large sheet of paper (11x17 or larger) on a table, or an equivalent space on a chalkboard or markerboard, per sub-group "playing."
* (Optional:) a Poloroid camera and film, or a video camera, with which to easily record particular configurations en route to your most optimal solution.
If this is mostly people new to the procedure, so that the process is likely to require several hours, you might want refreshments also on hand in service of a break.

Setting Up The Problem: select or state the problem. In a small boxed-in space on the center of the allotted large piece of paper or board space, write the statement of the problem. Up to the middle of either side of that boxed-in problem space, draw a horizontal line through the allotted space or large sheet. Evenly spaced, draw 2 more lines across which mark off three horizontal spaces above the middle of that box, and 2 more such lines across the allotted space or large sheet which mark off three horizontal spaces below the level of that problem box.

Step One: Viewed from DISequilibrium: To bring equilibrating forces into view, imagine the problem to have been extremely disequilibriated by having been "solved." Imagine and describe in detail to your paired partner within your larger group or sub-group, what it would be like if the problem were not only solved but solved to an exaggerated degree, and notice everything that comes to vision or to mind in that context. Brainstorm as many as possible of all the things you can think of which would be different if the problem were solved in such an exaggerated or extreme way. Use "Support First" rule from Dynamic Format; don't stop to argue or judge, just include whatever entries come up. Find 40-50-100 possible differences resulting from the problem having been solved so utterly.

This exaggeration makes apparent some elements of the problem situation which would not have been so noticeable in static views of it even when participants are well informed. Exaggerate the solution--the client is not only promoted in his firm but jumped 3 levels higher; not only is involuntary world hunger ended but everyone is so totally nourished as to be even getting dangerously fat. Imagine sales to increase not only by the target percentage but shoot right up off the chart. Imagine what if all the illicit drugs in this country are seized successfully in one fell swoop. Whatever the problem, expanding thus the view of it being solved expands our perceptual map of the situation, and gives us room to peer between its elements.
(5-10 minutes)

(Note: aside from problem-solving, use this procedure also toward discovering the sources of support for you, your policy, or your proposed solution to the problem--or anyone's pet solution to the problem, which often has to be run through before other perspectives can be opened. Likewise envisage the wild success or over-achievement of that person, policy or proposed solution. Likewise, when using this procedure as an accelerated learning technique, in combination with "case studies" method in management training or in socio-behavioral courses: exaggerate the extent to which various proposed resolutions of "the case" could affect the persons or factors under study.)

Step Two: Identification of Problem Elements: In groups of 3 to 6, brainstorm WHO are all the players in that problem situation and who are all the players in the wings. Anyone who relates to, is affected by, affects or could effect, or could be affected by that problem situation! Give specific names wherever possible, but identify also all groups and "interests" as well. Instead of slowing down for arguments, use the "Support-First Rule" from Dynamic Format. When in doubt as to whether a named entity is part of the situation, record it anyway instead of debating.

All named persons, parties, interests each go on a slip of Post-It.
(5-12 minutes)

Step Three: Setting Values--within your groups of 3-6. In those groups, as rapidly as possible determine with each Post-It entry what the impact of solving the problem would be on the (perceived short-term) interests of each. Do this by means of "Quick-Vote." As each entry is read aloud, within 3 seconds everyone in your group "votes" his/her estimate by holding up or down 0, 1,2 or 3 fingers. A positive impact on the entry's perceived short-term interests is signified by the fingers held upward; an adverse or negative effect by the fingers held downward. In either case, the greater the perceived short-term impact on the entry's interests, the more the number of fingers held out accordingly.

Position the Post-It of the entry at horizontal 0-line or 1, 2, or 3 spaces above or below, on your sheet or board, according to the rough average of your group's "vote."

On the left edge of the allotted large sheet or boardspace, provide a column space for "squiggles." On the right edge, a column for asterisks (*). Accordingly,

If there are wide disparities in your group's voting on some entry--say a plus two and a minus three--place that Post-It entry in the "squiggle" column. These squiggle cases are of special interest because examination of them often reveals whole sectors of the problem situation which might not otherwise have come to view.

Also: for any entry where there is a strong sharp impression of long term real interest differing greatly from short-term perceived interest: post that entry in the asterisk column. In whichever column, post each entry whether squiggle or asterisk to correspond in terms of level with the average of your group's perception of that entry's perceived short-term interests.

Continue until all Post-It entries are posted somewhere on the sheet or board at some valence level.
(10-15 minutes)

Step Four: Examine your sheet or board, with this concept in mind: Entries above the 0-line (those with positive valences) are your potential sources of support for a solution. Below that neutral 0-line, entries with negative valences are likely to be somehow involved in the defeat of attempted solutions (and policies and courses of action).

Of special interest: swiftly review and analyze your "squiggle" and asterisk entries. In some special cases you may want to recap the above 3 steps in miniature, to identify elements within that special entry--these can be especially illuminating!

You may also discover key aspects of the problem situation from examining some of the possible relationships between entries, on and off the board or sheet. Especially focus on how a change in one might affect another.
(5-15 minutes)

Step Five: Win/Win-Finding: determine what changes or "sweeteners" would need to be added to the plan or solution or policy or course of action, to bring more entries topside your 0-line (making their perceived short-term interest impact positive). To what extent will the cost of those sweeteners subtract from some of your support? Start tinkering with the solution(s) or policy in such a way as to see if you can turn all valences positive and still have a distinctive thrust of solution.

It's crucial to begin making such changes or adding such sweeteners, if you are to emerge with a solution which will generate broad enough support to be a solution. One experimental group, in fact, which up to this point had performed brilliantly, froze on its initial solutions without even beginning to explore such changes to those perfect jewels of resolution--and was the only such group not to develop at least the beginnings of an emergent genuine solution. (Even the several groups which ran out of time were clearly en route to an effective solution.)

If, as you check out these sweeteners, your solution is beginning to look a bit thin your policy expensive or shaky, you may want to take a picture of this configuration of your sheet or board, then try a different proposed solution or policy. Go quickly as possible on each entry interest, to get group averaged estimate as to possible change from old to proposed new solution impacting on that entry's perceived short-term interests.

This is also your opportunity to get someone's "pet solution" run and out of the way. The more important a problem is, the likelier you will have people who have pet solutions to it. To free their full attention for the ultimate solution-finding, as soon as possible after running such a pet solution through the valences and down the tubes, start running another proposed solution through the valences.

Design Objective: find a solution which constitutes a win/win for all concerned, if possible even in the short run - and definitely a win/win for all in the long run. To the extent that the eventual solution falls short of that objective, is the measure of the cost in power, force or extraordinary persuasion which would be required to implement that solution or policy.

If that solution is not universally win/win, it must be at least close enough that sufficient support will be generated to supply special or compensatory incentive to those factors which otherwise would not be sharing in the win. If your solution cannot generate that much support, it probably is not a good enough solution. Seek another which is.

Example: one suggested idea for finding a cure for AIDS faster (or any seemingly incurable fatal disease which still leaves mental faculties relatively in good order), would be: to STAFF an entire major research center (and dedicated funding commitment) with medically qualified researchers who are themselves AIDS victims--and turn them loose on the problem. However--

--Other identified elements in the AIDS problem appear to be adversely affected by that possible answer and/or by any possible major and/or inexpensive cure. These elements would, consciously or unconsciously, probably block action--for all sorts of high-minded reasons, explanations, protection of the public, safeguarding of human rights, rules of accountability for public resources, whatever.

To be adopted, this solution option would have to be accompanied by other measures, possibly by direct incentives to those other identified elements--and delicately enough not to offend sensibilities with an air of "buying off" someone or of impugning motives.

More generally, this example suggests, in broad outline at least, a strategy which might be used to rapidly find cures for most remaining incurable diseases, some of which have been around with billions in research and treatment spent on them, for a long time and with a tremendous extent of human suffering.

Step Six (if needed): If all your major solutions and policies have shown up bankrupt, then brainstorm in your group all possible solutions to the problem without regard to acceptability or suitability, to flush new options into view. The "Support-First" rule is back in effect. Try for 40, 50, 100 solution suggestions.

Quickly pick out the most interesting ideas from the list, and/or bunch them. Give special attention to that idea which was first greeted with a burst of laughter, since that often turns out to be the best idea. If no one idea emerges "head and shoulders" above the rest, use whatever quick sort-down method can get you to the 2-3 most interesting solution possibilities within 3 minutes or so. Configure each on your sheet or board as above, then look for the least expensive sweeteners which will bring virtually everyone above the 0-line. Also, on each of these,

Support without it costing you a dime. Learn How

Compare your own gut-level responses to each solution. See if you can identify and state in particulars the cause(s) of that gut-level response. See what that factor does when introduced into your board or sheet. Remember that any problem solving formula or method "is a tool, not a rule;" its purpose is to expand perception over facets which otherwise might not get noticed and which just might possibly contain your winning answer. Sometimes, pointing in one direction is what brings another direction into view. In the long run, not the method but you make the decisions.

Step Seven--Select the preferred solution. Improve further on it. Design a step-by-step sequence of operations which will cause it to be implemented, a series of specific steps culminating in completion of the solving of that problem. Your steps need to be concrete enough, specific enough, that you will readily know when each is completed or that it is not. Pinpoint each step in sequence or time. Make sure you've accounted for First Step. ("What's First Step? If there's anything which has to be done before that step then it's not First Step so what is First Step?")

--In other words, generalities may point the direction, but solutions happen only through concrete specific steps.

Experience thus far:

Thus far, participants have been laymen at best, with regard to the problems addressed. --Yet their levels of discourse, analysis and solution-finding under this set of procedures consistently has been profoundly superior to the recorded and media-broadcast deliberations on the same topics by assembled experts and leading professionals.

In every instance, participants and observers have been astounded by the degree and quality of information and insight developed where all participating were initially thought to be uninformed. Every time, key facets and possibilities have emerged which do not appear to have been considered anywhere else.

It will be interesting indeed to see what can be accomplished once teams of informed experts and professionals are assembled to these procedures.

Brief Brief on a Speculative Case Study:

Can We Make Part of the Problem
Into Part of the Solution?

(--Also Known As: "Adventure With a Squiggle")

Can the most nightmarish part of our environmental and global pollution problem actually provide a major part of the solution?

I. General Case for a Proposed Solution---

Let's look at power sources---

* There's only so much hydroelectric potential to go around.
* Conventional, fossil-fuel-burning power stations--
--use up fossil fuels(!);
--pollute air and water;
--worsen our accumulating world greenhouse CO2 effect; and
--if oil-fired, worsen our trade deficits and national dependency.
* Solar power, after many decades, we've never yet managed to master the art or science of making economical on a large scale. Hopes for space-based solar power have slipped another generation further back with the retreat of plans for the U.S. Space Station.
* Geothermal power pollutes air and water.
* Ocean waves and tidal inlets, after many decades we've never managed to make into an economical power source.
* Temperature differences within different layers of part of the ocean, after more than a decade we've not yet managed to make economically feasible as a power source. Perhaps the same principle could become feasible with the sharper temperature differences found in groundwater in desert regions.
* Controlled fusion power seems more out of reach now than when we first invented nuclear reactors, and "cold fusion" has gone into the books as an example of myth and hysteria in science.
* Conservation of power, as relatively a power source, has begun to bump into its limits. Thermal insulation of buildings has run into radon. We don't seem to be able to push Detroit into much higher fuel efficiencies. Social resistance to further measures is climbing unless we radically adjust incentives. Only the computer revolution has significantly reduced power demand, and how much further can that aspect go?
* Nuclear reactors are not only directly dangerous a la 3-Mile Island and Chernobyl, but their greatest problem is the continued accumulation of radioactive wastes, already far more than we've figured out how to handle and potentially the most lethal threat to all life on Earth. To build any more conventional nuclear reactors would be one of the most irresponsible decisions in the annals of history!

--So what IS left? --Those very same radioactive wastes already produced!

II. The Proposed Solution---Convert radioactive "wastes" into a power source in secondary thermal reactors.

The end product of radioactivity is heat. --Enough heat, when brought together, to melt and pump sodium as a thermal conductor, or steam if run cooler than that, to drive turbines or other power-generating devices.

Can there be much doubt that, as a working power source, a given set of radioactive "waste" would receive much more careful handling than it does now as "waste?" Still dangerous, but the assembly of radioactive wastes into "secondary," thermal reactors has to be counted as a major safety improvement over today's situation.

Every unit of power generated from radioactive "waste" is that much less greenhouse effect, that much less air and water pollution, that much less fossil fuel used up, that much less foreign trade deficit and dependency resulting from more conventional power generating.

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors, such "secondary" reactors from radioactive "waste" will not generate more such waste. In two senses it will make less such waste, in that--

1. It moves stuff from essentially uncontrolled "dumps" into much more carefully handled power plants; and
2. It's power can begin to replace conventional nuclear power, thus reducing the rate at which further such wastes are being created!

Design and building of these "secondary reactors" will also be a useful conversion of some of the technical resources of our dwindling defense industry, and a good spur to our stagnant economy.

In the 1940s and '50s we made the basic national decision, echoed elsewhere, to build regular nuclear power plants and to treat their non-power output as waste, rather than as part of a thermal, secondary power retrieval system. Whatever the economics were then as regards such secondary retrieval, those economics have certainly changed since, and the whole issue certainly bears rethinking.

When we originally made that basic national decision, we were in the throes of a technological fantasy about limitless clean nuclear power. Fusion power was just around the corner, we had not yet come to appreciate how hard it is to keep up safety standards in large-scale enterprises and over long periods of time, and we'd certainly not anticipated or come to appreciate the extent of the problem that we are now posed vis-a-vis horrendously accumulating, dangerous, nowhere safely disposable radioactive wastes. Each of these factors by itself fully justifies our rethinking that decision of not converting radioactive wastes into secondary thermal retrieval power reactors. Taken together, it's quite remarkable that no one is exploring the issue.

III. A first look at incentives regarding this solution--

--And whatever the economics were then, back in the late 40s and 50s; and whatever the economics may be now: there is a very simple, direct and easy way to change those economics for the better. Exempt from all taxes for a decade, income from commercial exploitation of a long list of substances hitherto known as dangerous and toxic wastes! (--Including radioactive wastes.) Tax such income at half rates for the decade following and at normal rates thereafter. To take advantage of the tax break, all sorts of uses will come out of the woodwork to use up such "wastes." Any foregone tax revenues during that interval would be many, MANY times made up for by what we would otherwise have to spend in protecting and restoring our living space from those dangerous wastes, and our absolute societal and global costs saved would be many times more even than that!

Until World War II, a major part of the history of the industrial revolution was a matter of each generation finding commercial uses for the waste by-products and overlooked resources of the previous generation. Since then we appear to have let matters in this regard get away from us. The proposed tax incentive would bring us back in line with this historical precedent, and further would be very much in line with current social efforts to reclaim and recycle specific wastes such as plastic and aluminum.

Conclusion: we should immediately proceed to study the feasibility and simple design of secondary thermal recovery power plants using some of our radioactive wastes. The wastes we are so anxious (and unable) to control now should be made available to commerce under appropriately controlled and well-understood conditions. We should also begin immediately to determine how best to define and apply the proposed tax incentive to encourage the commercial using-up of all sorts of toxic and dangerous substances with which we've let our world become overrun.

IV. Short-term losers who would need "sweeteners" in order not to become major opposition to the proposal--

We won't go into an exhaustive listing here, in order to take time and space to look at a most fascinating squiggle/asterisk factor which developed in this instance. But the most obvious major losers are, of course, all the competing industrial sources of power, especially oil and coal, and suppliers of equipment and services to those industries. The sweeteners, also, required to offset to these big "losers" the effects of a major new source of clean power, thus far appear to be more controversial than the original proposal though if a concerted program of this sort eliminated much of the need for conservation of power, cutting back on some areas of power conservation effort might serve as part of such a "sweetener," attracting support from builders who could be among the major "winners" if their insulating costs were reduced--rendering insulation manufacturers a source of opposition, and so on. Obviously, this is an unfinished case since the people in our thinktanks thus far have contributed their time for free and are "scarce" in relation to the need for their services both on this and on other matters.

A lot of the opposition to the tax incentive measure or other application of the proposal, that nuclear "wastes" be converted into a thermal power source in secondary reactors, is marginal and could easily be headed off with just a bit of sweetener. A few of the more rigid power companies, and suppliers of some of their equipment some of whom, if identified, could be contracted with for the very same program and thus brought around. --Unfortunately most of the conservation groups, seeing this as one issue less to get the public excited about and in their camp of support. Unless they can be gotten to see the advantages in membership money and power terms of becoming advocates of the proposed program and getting public credit for it.

Among "winners," besides the general public whose diffuse interests almost never get served directly, would be much of the health and safety insurance industry; the State of Nevada where the Federal Government has been planning to dump most of the nuclear wastes; neighbors (and realty interests) proximate to the many current temporary nuclear waste dump sites around the country--and, most of all, key segments of the defense industry who would be building the plants and equipment for the proposed secondary reactors.

All that much is obvious, even without running a formal I/E Analysis to discover sources of support and opposition.

Each time we ran such an analysis on this issue or started to, we ran into a most remarkable consideration.

Obviously, the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency, and to some extent the various transportation agencies and other related agencies, would be a major player or factor in the game. But when we began to look at whether this proposal would be a positive or negative valence for them, we got squiggles and asterisks. When we gave these closer attention, they broke out mainly in this manner:

* Lower branches of the agency or related agencies would be highly specialized, and bureaucratically would see this proposal as meaning a lot more work to hassle with but not enough positive to bother. Hence, lower branches receiving the proposal would be negative toward it and find reason to reject it, regardless of its merits for the country as a whole.

* Higher, more generalized levels of the bureaucracy or bureaucracies concerned, would instead see possibilities of expanding or of building new empires, even in the short run and especially in the long run. The higher ranking the officials contacted on the proposal, the more likely they would be to support the proposal.
The strategy this configuration dictates is, not to submit the proposal through channels at all, routed as these are to the lower, more specialized rank & file. The only way for the proposal to get enough of a hearing, consideration and argument is via a systematized campaign of letters and E-mail and personal contacts with the top people in the agencies concerned, even after being referred down. The campaign has to be sustained, kept in the attention of the top people because the first few times bureaucrats at lower levels will keep finding ways to defeat it. That will turn around, and the lower echelons will finally swing to support the thing and do what they're supposed to do, once it becomes clear to them that it'd take far more work and time and attention and effort to keep fighting the proposal than to let it go through.

--All this without regard to the actual merits of the matter! But that is what is built into the structure of the situation, as revealed through I/E Analysis, and whatever protagonist(s) of this proposal can ignore that only at peril.

Upon due reflection, we realized that this structure is true also for most innovative proposals, independent of their merits. The days when ordinary citizens could suggest an idea and get it considered on its own merits, are long gone. So long as government agencies are structured with specialized lower echelons and generalized upper (and it is difficult to see how they might be otherwise arranged), the system has a built-in drive toward political power arrangements, and away from considering actions and policies and proposals by their actual merits.

Note also that this structural predisposition, rooted in government agencies and tending response systems away from considerations of merit and toward political power--and is that really all that much a surprise, given what we see around us?--is true for all forms of government, ranging between formal democracies and formal totalitarian tyrannies. So long as wealth and power are concentrated to get things done through government, the policies and deliberations of government will be driven away from what is best for the country and tend toward being less and less rational over time.

--Often or usually either until the situation collapses ruinously, eventually to restart in another such cycle; or until a way is found--such as use of incentives to the private sector instead of more direct methods to "get things done"--to diffuse those concentrated stakes of power and wealth.

--All of this from a squiggle!


Step One: please discuss this proposal--in any or all of these regards--

* to convert nuclear wastes into a secondary power source;
* to use tax incentives to induce the private sector to convert wastes into commercial products and services;
* the general case with "the squiggle," that because government agencies are constructed with specialists near the bottom and generalized leaders at the top, this "squiggle effect" tends ideas and proposals away from consideration by merit and toward political power arrangement increasingly antithetical to the interests of the whole--

with at least one other person whom you respect.

Thank you.

Other Uses for the Win/Win-Finder Method

I. The Win/Win-Finder, or I/E Analysis, As An Accelerated/Enhanced Learning Technique:

In the socio-behavioral curriculum--history, psychology, sociology etc.--this same procedure can be used to refocus the "Case Studies" method used there and in management training. For each case problem: lay out all elements and "players of the game" and "players in the wings," just as with the main method, leading to a dynamic and profoundly enriched analysis and understanding of the "case" or problem situation so addressed.

Even more directly, use this procedure in sessions of the "Problems of Democracy" program.

In history courses: whether highlighting crucial factors and epochs in a conventionally chronologically taught course, or featured in the "post-hole" or episodic approach to history-teaching.

Use this method also to brilliantly highlight moments and situations portrayed in psychodrama and sociodrama.

In each instance here, just as in our thinktanks with corporate or societal problems: I/E Analysis instantly sophisticates participants' understanding of the problem area and its dynamics, and also is highly involving of interest. Initially naive and uninformed groups quickly move ahead of the experts in their grasp of the problem situation and its potential resolutions. That impressive leap in understanding can not only serve problem-solving purposes but educational ones, as suggested here.

Just as Walt Disney's "Storyboarding" technique has the potential of enriching the study of literature and drama, above and beyond its present uses in creative theater and therapy, I/E Analysis or Win/Win-Finder, by highlighting the problem situations of characters in stories and dramas, has high potential for enriching educationally the study of literature and drama, and for heightening the poignancy of "might-have-beens" in tragedy.

II. Off the Horns of a Dilemma:

It's usually the people who care about some problem or issue, and who have put some thought and concern into that matter already, who have developed some pet or stock solution or response to it. Because everyone else tends to dismiss their ideas--and concerns--pretty much out of hand regardless of merit, it's easy for some of these concerned, thoughtful, at least partially informed, people to become shrill, repetitive or otherwise abrasive about it, deepening further the likelihood of rejection.

It's wonderful for a concerned, caring--and usually-dismissed person to have the Win/Win-Finder run on his idea or proposal. He's actually getting a hearing on the thing, it's actually being considered! He might not much like the outcome of that analysis--but he was part of it, he saw how it went, he no longer is driven toward--

1) Obstructing everyone else's proceedings in that topic;
2) Dismissing and ignoring everyone else's ideas in that topic the way his own were treated;
3) Not hearing further information and insights.

Instead of being a noise and an obstacle, this caring and at least somewhat informed person usually becomes a genuine asset to the group's deliberations on the topic, and considerably enriches the final outcome even though it is usually very different from the answer he was for so long utterly convinced of.

Turning such bright, concerned, abrasive obstacles back into productive human assets makes use of Win/Win worthwhile even for that reason alone, even if it didn't solve problems and do all these other things

III. Discovering the Support & Opposition to Your Position, Your Plan or Policy:

Whatever your position or title, it automatically tends to attract support from some players and opposition from others. Some players are case, by definition,. in a more complementary role; others in an actual or potentially competing or adversarial role. Identify all players in relation to your position, title or job description. Now imagine your position become supersuccessful and powerful, exaggeratedly so. Assign valences as before. Cross-check: imagine yourself suddenly removed from that role and from the situation--who would gain? Who would lose? Who would be discomfited? Assign valences as before, remembering this time that you are working in the negative.

Especially important to remember and consider are two things--

1) This map is showing us the potential for unconscious motivation and not the actual, conscious motivation which can be and usually is very different.

2) Also, with respect to role: there's the role and there's the human being playing that role. The human being can be the major factor and the role minor, or the other way around--and the human being is usually motivated at least somewhat differently than is the role he is playing, which is part of his unconscious motivation.

Roles are a key means for us to learn and to grow, but they are not us. I have a role but I am not the role that I am playing. In fact, I am considerably more than the sum total of the various roles I am playing or have played. Most Americans have not been educated on this distinction between roles and the people playing those roles, and so are muddled, confused or otherwise easily misled on these matters. Opponents on some point or issue are too easily regarded as - and treated as - enemies when, with a little care in handling, they could become your great allies and friends in most other contexts. Play hard but play clean and be quick to extend a helping hand back up as you move toward some other context. Anticipatory cultivating of personal relationships can also prevent opposition where your map would otherwise predict it, even where you don't formally design in "sweeteners" of one sort or another.

Similarly with a policy or policy decision. Again, imagining the exaggerated super-success of that policy outcome to outrageous levels, rather than a merely normal success. That exaggeration gives you "more room" to perceive the relevant valences among your various affected players.

IV. Win/Win-Finder or I/E Analysis in Personal Goals Therapy:

Did you once have goals which are fading because you've somehow just not been able to achieve them? Are you settling for less than what you originally set out for?

Even one human individual is a complex being, not only biologically but psychologically and socially. Each role that individual has played or is playing--father, son, daughter, stern parent, nurturing parent, dependent child, wayward child, wonderkind, friend, boss, employee, lover, packmate, etc.etc.--and each stake s/he is playing to or has played to, defines a facet.

Each of these items in your personal history and situation defines a facet which, with regard to the long-standing non-attainment of some particular goal or standard, can be regarded a la I/E Analysis as a "player in the game" or in the wings.

If you have "stabilized" short of your long-desired goal or standard, despite some good efforts along the way: this suggests equilibrium, indeed a complexly homeostatic equilibrium identical in character, at least, to those addressed in continuing or chronic long-term societal problems.

In relation to that long-held but unfulfilled goal or that chronically failed standard:

* Identify and give short tag names as above to all the roles you've played, other stakes you've played to, and whatever other identifiable facets of your being.

* Imagine that goal or standard exaggeratedly overfulfilled and achieved. Relative to that exaggerated success,

* Race through those identified tag-named aspects of yourself assigning them valences just as you did with your teammates around that corporate or societal problem statement-in-the-box. With a little imagination, conduct "bargaining and negotiation" in some way on behalf of or between these various facets of yourself, to discover your main sources of internal support for reaching your goal, and to discover some arrangement wherein all facets of yourself are brought above the 0-line so that you no longer are preventing yourself from achieving your aim.


These were but a few of the possible extensions of a very young method of creative solution-finding. What the future holds for it, your handling of it will help determine. What you have not experienced, until you actually go through a session with some form of this system, is the amazing quality of public or group shared insight and sophistication on matters which you could have sworn that no one present knew a thing about. Experiencing this effect will, in and of itself, tell you some surprisingly positive things about yourself--and about others around you.

--And reveal some surprising new opportunities on great groaning chronic problems hope of solution of which had long since faded away. Mad or no, we don't have to take it any more!

Your own entertaining and/or productive test and use of this method, in one or more of its various forms, will go a longer way than you yet realize toward the day when many, many people discover themselves to be more than a match for the difficulties which had been so besetting them and besetting us all. --And the positive opportunities opening up are of a scale, scope and nature such that it's well worth staying alive through these times to share in that coming experience.

©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgement of source), we do require that expressed permission be granted by Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing and sharing, we only request that you notify us.

To reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at Project Renaissance

This version originally published on Anakin's Brain (now Genius By Design)

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©1996-2004 Matthew Turco unless otherwise noted

Generations of Accelerated Learning | The GBD Papers
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