All human activity, along with associated emergent problematic situations and opportunities, is embedded in context. The ‘context’ is, however, a a melange of different contexts. In our attempts at understanding and intervening, rarely do we spend much time trying to understand context, especially as it applies to the current situation, and how history has influenced where we are. Instead, we tend to: a) make assumptions about context, but not make these explicit, resulting in different unspoken and untested assumptions; b) limit contextual analysis to proximal, ‘obvious’ or uncontroversial aspects; or c) jump to a potential solution (or a way to realise an opportunity), shortly followed by planning for this intervention (which has the important function of helping us to feel in control, thus relieving our anxiety – at least temporarily).
An approach Steven Shorrock has found useful is to spend time considering contextual influences (e.g., on decision making, at multiple levels of organisations) on problematic situations or potential solutions, more explicitly. He shares this in his latest blog.