The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Reframe – A Review

Eric Knight is an Australian who wants us to look at things differently in order to solve complex issues and the wicked problems of the world.  Reframe is the book he has written to put forward his ideas.


Source: Flickr, Tom Larken
There’s a joke about a guy who has had a bit too much to drink scrabbling around on the ground beneath a street lamp in the middle of the night.  A policeman on his beat sees the man and comes up to him and asks: “Hullo, hullo, hullo, what’s going on here?”.  The drunk replies that he has lost his house keys and that he is looking for them.  The friendly policeman decides to help him look, so he gets down on hands and knees also.  After a few minutes fruitless search the policeman gives up and says “Are you sure that you lost them here?”.  “Nah, I lost them up the road” says the drunk.  “Well, why are you searching here then?” enquires the logical policeman.  “Because this is the only light!” replies the drunk.

I’m sure that Eric Knight would appreciate this joke.  Knight’s main thesis in his book Reframe is that we tend to look for solutions where the light is brightest.  The light is brightest in our immediate vicinity.  We miss what is outside this circle of light.  Knight suggests metaphorically that we are attracted to bright, shiny objects and are far too wont to approach problem-solving by looking for answers through magnifying glasses.

Knight uses a number of examples to back up his thesis.  For example, the reason that Long-Term Capital Management lost billions of dollars in 1998 was, according to Knight, because they used 5 years worth of data whilst failing to notice the 5 decade wave that was about to wash over them. Similarly for terrorism, immigration and climate change.

Knight makes a compelling case.  His is a lesson that we must learn quickly if the complex issues and wicked problems facing humanity are to be solved.

Reframe is a highly readable book utilising a combination of story-telling with insightful analysis.  Knights stories are widely set; on a couple of British trains, a village in Costa Rica, the halls of power in Washington and even in party games.  His analysis encompasses economics (he is a Rhodes scholar specialising in economics), military strategy, political campaigning, even evangelism.  It seems that nothing is exempt from Knights assertion that issues and problems are often framed incorrectly.

So what does Knight suggest?  Primarily, Knight argues that we must accept “that society (is) unfathomably complex – far too complex to be grasped by even the most intelligent person on their own”.  Adaptation, patience and humility are the new hallmarks of a re-framed problem solving approach.

So too is the recognition of our collective knowledge and experience.  In a passage that would resonate with most community development workers Knight asserts that:
“Our best decisions did not come from dictates delivered from the top down.  They came from initiatives carried out from the bottom up.”
Reframe is a welcome addition to solving the complex problems of our time.  Not because Knight suggests any answers but because he gets us to reframe the questions in ways that prompt us to cast aside our magnifying glasses, to look at the bigger picture, to look outside the immediate circle of light.

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