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  • Writer's pictureLee Cooper

A System of One

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Currently studying complexity as part of my Masters in Creative Intelligence & Strategic Innovation.

The assessment is to explore a social issues that are complex and personally important.

I have chosen homelessness, as I believe for all the good and hard work been done, we are not making progress.

The challenge with trying to solve homelessness they way we have is like trying to cure a cold by treating sneezing. Are we solving the cause or the symptom? Even by naming the problem as homeless, suggest an obvious solution, which undervalues the complex systems that create this social condition.

A System of One is my "creative" attempt to to begin to unpack the complexity of homelessness through a short video (iPhone in one hand and pen in the other) to tell an story of someone's journey into homelessness.

The title is reflective of the idea that homelessness is a problem with the person, their individual factors, while not their fault, these are the main contributors to their situation.

This reflects the narrow way in which our social services are funded. They are primarily funded to support individuals through case management, supported accommodation, counselling and practical assistance to solve this problem.

I accept this is an over simplification of the complex and caring work of our organisations, but it is reflective of what is often measured as success.

As well-meaning and important as these support services are, paradoxically they reinforce the idea that person who is homeless is the problem to be fixed.

What do we need to understand about how our systems work and interact with each other to create social conditions like homelessness?

With new understanding how can we incorporate this into our practice? Where would we shift our focus and what would become the 'problems to be fixed'?

And could this lead to shifting the needle on the causes of homelessness towards the creating community?

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