Making Sense of Complexity: Review of SenseMaker for Development

This short article reviews unique strengths and areas to be aware of when using SenseMaker for development research.  SenseMaker is a research tool designed for social complexity.  It fits a unique niche. Firstly, its indicators are easily visualized and dis-aggregated which makes it ideal for pragmatic development needs.  Secondly, answers to questions emerge from peoples’ experiences which increases trustworthiness of the data.  Thirdly, it asks questions in such a way that causes people to answer based on complexity science principlesRead more

Capability Calculation: When people choose between vital parts of being human

A capability calculation is how people make choices when faced with limits to fulfill their capabilities. Ideally in a flourishing society people have the opprotunity to fulfill all their capabilities.  All capabilities are important.  However, sometimes fulfilling one capability can put another at risk. When fulfilling one capability puts another at risk people choose which part of their personhood will increase and which will decrease.  Because capabilities are interconnected when people are forces to choose -especially below a certain threshold- allRead more

Resilience, Capabilities and Complexity: The face of bouncing-back.

Resilience is the ability for people to self-organize their capabilities and bounce-back after a shock.   The human capabilities and development approach (i.e. Sen, Nussbaum, Alkire and others) is helpful in understanding resilience in a human centered way.  Connecting capabilities to resilience leads to understanding which capabilities are most vital for people to secure in order to bounce-back and flourish.  This is different from a perspective that places economic development -Livelihood- as the ends rather than the means towards resilience.  This shift may seem subtle but it is substantialRead more

Islam, Human Capabilities and Development: A perspective from Basilan, Mindanao

Islam is important to development because it is important to people. The Islamic discourse –often defined differently by different groups- guides how people develop. This article shows that for many people Islam guides the development or lack of development of their capability domains. An understanding of Islam and development derived from the Yakan can guide development policy and practice in Mindanao as well as inform the larger Islam and development discussion. There are approximately 181,000 Yakan.  The Yakan live inRead more

Flourishing is…? The Good Life in Conflict: A Perspective from South-East Asia

The flourishing project. For over a year I asked people to tell stories of their best moments in life.  I asked people -young and old, female and male-  who would have a unique perspective.  Their perspective is unique because of their social disadvantage and the conflict that surrounds them.  Because of their ethnicity the people I asked face many hurtles.  However, -possibly as a result of the disadvantage- they are resilient, strong, friendly, and respectable people.  I asked people who are of Yakan decentRead more