Back in the fall of last year I was facilitating a workshop with Syntegrity Group and IEEE that brought together machine learning, artificial intelligence, public policy, and cyber security experts to write a white paper on the current and near future state of how AI is transforming cybersecurity. You can download the white paper and learn more about the process on IEEE’s website, by clicking here. This post is not really about those topics because, as you may already know, I’m not an expert in any of those. This post is about how I could facilitate a workshop on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, or designing a new cancer treatment center, or adapting logistics for the future of manufacturing, or working with people on recovery from any mental illness symptoms.
Change is change. How we collaborate in large groups or individually design solutions to change and complex problems is something we can systematize. If you want to work as a facilitator in business strategy or work with individuals on innovation in their personal lives, it’s important to have a consistent process you can adapt to any complex problem. If the model we use to understand and solve problems isn’t robust enough to handle dynamic variables, then it’s not a very useful model.
This is something I’d say the business world has become very skilled at. Modalities like design thinking and human centered design offer methods for working with any problem and developing solutions. In mental health, we’ve been slower to recognize the importance of modalities that work for recovery across any challenges. That’s one of the reasons I’m a fan of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.
ACT is trans-diagnostic, meaning you can use it for any diagnosis. Not just mental illness diagnoses, either. It’s also proving very useful when people are running into physical health issues that involve uncomfortable experiences like pain. And that’s what ACT is: a way of interacting with experiences and shifting the focus to what matters. It’s about understanding our context and where we want to go. Although we might feel the urge to go searching online for the “right” therapy for a particular mental illness symptom, it might be useful to recognize that healthy ways of interacting with brain stuff remain consistent with any brain stuff.
With any business challenge or mental health challenge, we can look at our context, understand what we don’t know, identify where we want to go, and then bring in supports (like expertise, a map of the territory ahead, a structured plan of valued actions, etc), and take action.