Affiliation

University of South Australia, AUS

Biography

Dr Sharon Zivkovic is an Adjunct Research Associate at the University of South Australia. She is also a Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide, the Founder of Community Capacity Builders and Co-founder of Wicked Lab. Community Capacity Builders' supports citizens to build community capacity, achieve social outcomes and influence systems change through the delivery of Active Citizenship, Social Entrepreneurship and Civic Entrepreneurship Programs. Wicked Lab supports multi-stakeholder groups to address complex social policy problems (wicked problems) through its Research, Complex Systems Leadership Program, Online Tool for Systemic Change and Systemic Innovation Lab Methodology. Wicked Lab takes a solution ecosystem, systemic innovation and complexity science approach. Prior to establishing Community Capacity Builders, Sharon held positions in the non-profit, private and public sectors.

sharon.zivkovic{at}unisa.edu.au

Articles

A complexity based diagnostic tool for tackling wicked problems
Volume: 17, Issue 4
Many of societies’ most pressing social policy problems are wicked problems. While complex adaptive systems theory has been recognised as an appropriate way to address this type of problem, complexity-accepting strategies are difficult for public administrations because they are at odds with their current dominant logic. This paper describes the development and implementation of a diagnostic tool for tackling wicked problems that is underpinned by complex systems leadership theories and takes into account the current needs of government. The diagnostic tool was reasoned during a research project that investigated how best to increase the social impact of an active citizenship education program in the City of Onkaparinga, South Australia. The research project identified that while the program developed the active citizenship characteristics desired by the three levels of government in Australia, graduates from the program encountered systemic blocking factors when they attempted to put what they had learned during the program into practice. To increase the program's impact, the diagnostic tool addresses these systemic blocking factors by focusing on nine leverage areas that enable systemic innovation and change to occur in communities.

Social innovation and complexity
Volume: 20, Issue 3

Increasing the impact of a complex systems leadership program
Volume: 20, Issue 3
It is increasingly recognized that complexity informed approaches are required to address the complex wicked problems that societies face. For these approaches, the goal is not to find the best solution for the problem but rather to increase the coherence and effectiveness of a solution ecosystem. This paper describes the need, development, implementation, evaluation and student initiatives of a complex systems leadership program. The program takes a problem and project based learning approach that includes participants using an online tool for systemic change to address a wicked problem of their choice. An evaluation of the program's pilot and observations of program participants since the pilot's evaluation suggest that complexity informed leadership programs on their own are insufficient for addressing wicked problems. It is argued that what is required in order to achieve significant impact, is for such programs to be embedded into a collaborative Lab methodology that has been purposefully designed to address wicked problems.