What is the best name for the skill of finding effective and elegant solutions inside a complex space that mostly involve social/organizational constructs? Constructs there include processes, practices, authority, responsibilities, decision-making definitions, agreements, incentives. Social/organizational could be large or small corporate, or any type of organization.


  • "We're coding on multiple branches for stability, yet all the builds are red anyway, ugh" --> "Find a way to change ingrained developer behavioral norms, test failure ownership and handling, and get everyone on one branch"
  • "Traditional decision-making, poor communication, and shifting ethical norms lead to employees publicly protesting their own company, ugh" --> "Find a way for company to be/communicate/decide/act that gives employees a real+felt stake in company decisions."

The skillful means lie in finding a system/thing that:

  • Is simple once explained, even if very hard to see prior to explanation
  • Respects all players game-theoretically, and so wins widespread approval and momentum towards adoption
  • Has a change path that make the goal reachable from the current state
  • Is a stable self-reinforcing equilibrium once reached

Stop right here - what would your first gut reaction be, what phrase would you say? Take a moment... alright, now I'm going to bias you with my thinking.

I'm seeking a name that is useful to a random person in an elevator. Organizational Design makes people think you're doing a re-org. Systems Thinking seems too abstract and implies a lack of doing. Don't even start with anything related to Agile or Management Consultant. I'm certainly attracted in the direction of Human Systems Dynamics, which is pretty darn close, but how many people have heard of HSD? It's also more noun-ish than verb-ish. Could I replace "dynamics" with "design", confusing actual HSD'ers, and have people intuitively guess roughly the right thing with "human systems design"?

Either pre-or-post biasing, what did/can you come up with? Let me know here.