One of the challenges all along for TOC Thinking Processes has been the perception that it is very focused on Logic without connection to the more "human" elements. It's not accurate, of course. Rami Goldratt discussed this in the context of Kristen Cox's morning keynote at the TOCICO conference. He talked about using Theory of Constraints to look for innovations. In particular, he used the example of dealing with challenges that appear in (Utah) government & society and how the TOC approach can help uncover breakthroughs.
How does TOC go about this? It is a new take on the Thinking Processes. Yes, we need to look at the Undesirable Effects (UDE's). Yes, we need to look at how they are connected. And yes, we even need to look for the core conflict and ensure that the conflict creates the UDE's. But there are some additional ways to help people work through challenging situations - to look for breakthroughs - that Rami Goldratt discussed which come out of Eli Goldratt's book The Choice.
Specifically the idea of combining Emotion, Intuition and Logic. Start with emotion - the emotions of all the stakeholders. Understand what are the real undesirable effects for the stakeholders. What do they really care about? What bugs them? It is this area where there is the biggest opportunity. If there are UDE's related to things we DON'T care about, then we won't be inclined to look for breakthroughs.
Strong emotion leads to the best intuitions. People care about these things and likely have some inkling about what to do. So use their intuition. Ask them to look for the key areas within the UDE's and challenges that they have brought up. Amongst all the UDE's where is the focal point? Can they describe a vicious cycle that connects many of these effects?
With this core understanding, then we can layer in the thinking. Are there other conditions or clarifications required to make the vicious cycle come to life? Do the other undesirable effects grow out of the vicious cycle - not as a formal Current Reality Tree with perfect logic, but can people see how those UDE's arise from being stuck in this vicious cycle?
Then ask the toughest question: This vicious cycle has been in existence for a while. People may have even highlighted it before. What prevents us from breaking out of the vicious cycle? What underlying conflict prevents us from taking the actions necessary to break out? If this conflict were solved, would the vicious cycle be broken? Would the undesirable effects be turned into desirable effects? Can the same reinforcing loop be changed to become a virtuous cycle?
There is more to learn along this path, of course. I am encouraged by the effort to incorporate all of our thinking into the thinking processes. More to come for me.