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Root Cause Analysis

Before jumping head in with solutions, I believe it would be important to understand the problem and especially the complexity of the problem. I suspect in analyzing the "system" we would find plenty of reinforcing loops. We need Root Cause Analysis

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Written by DeletedUser

The challenge brief is great, but it is nonetheless hard to distill the essence and the root cause of the problem in Caldas. In fact, we seem to be confronting several problems all at once. The challenge is to come up with solutions, but if we are not clear on the problem, we are bound to brainstorm solutions that might not work effectively in this environment.

I have seen many inspirational ideas of solutions that worked great in different circumstances and that seem to be ripe for transfer to Caldas or for scaling up in general. However, I am worried that this ignores the specific circumstances that make every situation unique.

On the web I have found some ideas about the sort of analysis that I think needs to be done. The company ThinkReliability provides some examples, for example about the root cause of the success of flight 1549, the one that landed successfully on the Hudson:

Another example is the work by Robert Horn, visiting scholar at Stanford on mapping Social Messes ( I believe this is a Mess Problem and his work could be applied to this situation in order to understand the connection between all the issues that the local population has to deal with on a daily basis. This is an example about Health Care in a US county:

The idea is that this sort of mapping helps us understand the unique qualities of the environment. My suspicion is that many of the root causes are actually linked cyclically, so that there will be no one unique cause on which to focus. In this case the mapping would provide us with insight about which levers we can pull. I believe the end result will be that solutions can be implemented, copied or scaled in a more effective way.

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Concept Map Financial Crisis 2009


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Such a mapping is a great idea. But would it be possible to distill an abstract model out of it? Basically, a computation network with 'inputs' (say, agricultural productivity, litteracy, foreign aid, ...) and 'outputs' (e.g. average income, child death rate, ...). Putting numbers on the inputs, outputs and intermediate nodes would allow us to really predict the benefit of potential solutions and monitor and correct implemented solutions.
There's already a great deal of research done on this kind of networks in various fields. But I have no idea if has ever been used for mapping social communities.

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Coming from an engineering background, that sounds very interesting to me. I would warn against trying to put too much effort into this sort of modeling. But some sort of estimation would definitely interesting and if I can help in any way with doing this kind of mapping and modeling, I am certainly interested and willing.

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