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Emerging Tools for Community-Driven Evaluations

Last year, I had the opportunity to take part in “Designing Evaluations For What Communities Value,” a meeting organized by the Institute of Medicine’s Collaborative on Global Chronic Disease along with Thicket Advisor Pritpal S Tamber. The meeting brought together people trying to think differently about community-driven health programs. Our key questions were:…

Thicket is hiring

We’re keeping an eye out for a talented data scientist fluent in Java to join our team here in New York. We are hoping to find a creative researcherData_Scientist_Thicket who is excited to aid the development of social science research tools and practices. Take a look at the job posting,…

Thicket Joins the ThoughtWorks Community

Thicket has been a Brooklyn baby from its inception. But starting this week, that changes: Thicket is moving to Manhattan, thanks to our generous host, ThoughtWorksNYC! Built by passionate individuals, ThoughtWorks revolutionizes software design, creation and delivery while advocating for positive social change. ThoughtWorkers around the world believe in the…

We need more creative research design

In 1981, a curiously profound experience took place in a converted monastery in New Hampshire. Psychologist Ellen Langer brought together eight men in their 70s to embody their earlier selves in an setting designed to evoke the year 1959. For five days, the men treated 1959 as their present. Before…

Thicket turns one!

This month marks Thicket’s one year anniversary! As many of you know, I launched Thicket one year ago believing that design could facilitate social change, and systemic scale was possible. In February of last year, I started inviting like-minded individuals to collaborate to bring these ideas into reality. By summer, we…

Using chocolate treats to teach children about inequality

Anyone with experience of working or living with children will know their ability to detect injustice is highly developed – “but it’s not fair” is a regular refrain. However we rarely ask them to channel this natural flair for fairness into productive and critical discussion about the nature of equality,…

Small Steps: A documentary on design for early childhood systems

In South Carolina, one think tank is taking a fresh approach to redesigning the complex systems that surround children and their families. Last year, the Institute for Child Success embarked on a special exploration of the potential for design thinking to tackle complex, systems-level challenges in early childhood health and…

Five steps to achieving impact with research

James Georgalakis, newly appointed Director of Communications and Impact at the Institute of Development Studies outlines the IDS approach to effective research uptake. Among the recommendations: Understand policy, power and knowledge contexts. Cognitive mapping is an excellent tool to master the context.

Mobile Learning Futures

DML’s S. Craig Watkins writes that technology is abundant in many schools — computers, digital video, tablets, graphics applications, and video editing and game authoring software. But school districts often seriously limit the ability of teachers and students to use the technology to truly transform learning.

Happy holidays from us!

As 2014 comes to a close, the Thicket team is off to spend the holidays with family and friends and celebrate our progress this year. A quick recap of 2014: January: Thicket launches with a feature in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. February: Team recruitment begins. March: Thicket incorporates as an LLC. April:…

Testing potential for impact

When MIT-incubated startup Sourcewater first talked to us about designing an impact model to demonstrate their vision, we were intrigued. We wanted to see how unconventional energy could be a pathway to more sustainable water practices nationwide. Sourcewater matches energy companies with impaired and fresh water sources to help maximize wastewater recycling,…

Math & Science Tell Us

We position math and science as independent arbiters of truth. Let’s not forget who is really doing the talking. Motherboard is a great place to get a little breather during the workday. That’s where I stumbled across an article about “A Typology of Street Patterns,” a new study published in…

How do we measure the impact of emotion?

Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI) plays an important role in equipping New York City youth with knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs of Chinatown, Asian Americans, and other underrepresented communities. But the impact of community building programs like CYI isn’t always easy to measure. Until now, the impact of…

What is social systems design?

People often ask us what we mean whan we say that Thicket is developing an applied field called social systems design. We apply principles of complexity to improve the way people share ideas and work together. Complexity theory, also known as complex adaptive systems theory, allows us a new way to…

What is fuzzy cognitive mapping?

Thicket developed our technology platform called The Possibility Engine based on a methodology called fuzzy cognitive mapping. First proposed in 1985 by Bart Kosko, fuzzy cognitive maps are a mashup of two frameworks: cognitive maps and fuzzy logic. Cognitive maps, also called mental maps or conceptual maps, were first identified…

How do you analyze a fuzzy cognitive map?

When we integrate individual cognitive maps using fuzzy logic, the result is a map so complex that visually, it means very little to the human eye. In order to make sense of it, we have to analyze it using several different methods. We can use network analysis to understand properties…

What is the Possibility Engine?

When we came up with the idea for Thicket to focus on solving complex social problems, we knew existing social science-based research and design tools were not robust enough to serve our needs. We needed to be able to quickly understand a complex system, analyze the system’s ability to adapt…

About our mission

Thicket helps people harness the power of complexity to think and work together in systems. We are in a period of dramatic social and technological change. As the circulation of people, resources, and ideas accelerates, results of all this human activity amplify. We’re seeing a new intensity and scale in…