Wicked Issues / Adaptive Actions


19th August 2021 by Steve Holyer

Thanks to Patrick Assale for sharing their work on Unsplash.
Patrick Assale

An Adaptive Action Cycle gives you a way of spotting patterns in the complexities swirling around. an Adaptive Action Cycle also helps you to take action fitting to the situation.

We learned about the Adaptive Action cycle from the Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) Institute. An Adaptive Action Cycle starts with inquiry that leads to action. The questions of an Adaptive Action Cycle are: What? So What? and Now What?

An Agile Retrospective also starts with inquiry that leads to action. Within the retrospective framework, we've also asked you the three questions: What? So What? and Now What?

Coaching Cocktails merges the idea of the Adaptive Action Cycle with the Agile Retrospectives Framework when we host our personal retrospectives each months. It's a natural fit.

In August, our retrospective will be just a little different. Until now, we've always used the pattern of the Agile Retrospective with concepts from HSD Adaptive Action Cycles mixed-in—with great feedback from our guests.

So what if we used the full pattern of the Adaptive Action Cycle from HSD?

Steve has been studying with the HSD Institute this summer as he completes HSDP certification. And this month for our personal retrospective, we are going all in and holding a complete personal Adaptive Action Cycle—using the HSD pattern the way HSD practitioners might.

This complete Adaptive Action cycle will seem comfortably familiar. This format is a very small shift that we think will make a big difference.

We'll invite you to focus privately on one of your Wicked Issues or Sticky Problems. (Our designer friends sometimes call them Wicked Problems.) We'll provide some questions from HSD for inquiry and action so you can spot patterns and shift your issue. You'll be able to share as much, or as little, about your insights with as you choose.

Join us for this persona reflection in September and bring your Wicked Issue or Sticky Problem. We'll take you on a focused journey to move your issue.

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— related stories from our blog —

But … What are Wicked Issues and Adaptive Actions?

30th August 2021

Glenda Eoyang says, “Wicked problems plague the global community today—climate change, violent conflict, hunger, corruption, to name a few. [Your]… issues may not be that far reaching, but they are equally wicked… ”

Adaptive Action Cycles, or Adaptive Action Planning, is a way to tame Wicked Issues and Sticky Problems.

An Adaptive Action Cycle has three phases, each phase id focused on a type of question. What? So what? Now what?



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photo ©2018 Josef Dabernig (@dasjo) Zürich Switzerland
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