The six +1 steps of the Compram method (DeTombe)

step 1

analysis and description of the problem by a team of neutral content experts

see for theory of Compram (thesis chapter 7, DeTombe 1994)

see for description of step 1 (thesis chapter 8, DeTombe 1994)

1 The method starts by making an integrated simulation model of the problem by content experts which have knowledge of the different aspects of the problem. This is the knowledge step. Questions that should be answered are: What do we know? What do we not know? What are the elements and how are they related? The experts make a simulation model of the elements of the problem supported by a seven-layer model of DeTombe. This way they define the problem.

The Compram method prescribes that complex problems should be handled by a group of people.  These people have different knowledge, interests, and views on the problem. These heterogenic groups will, guided by a facilitator, act to analyze and change the problem. The Compram method structures the problem handling process in a six step program.

The first step is to approach the problem as a knowledge problem, to begin by analyzing the problem using a team of 'neutral' knowledge experts [4] to get a clear picture of the problem. These experts analyze the aspects and phenomena involved in the problem and determine and describe how these aspects are related. They also make a thorough analysis of the involved actors. This contains a description of the actors, what their interests and goals are, and outline their possible opposition towards the desired goal [5] of the problem-owner. This way the ‘neutral’ experts define the problem.

 The Experts: The process of cooperative problem handling begins by selecting a team of ‘neutral’ experts by the facilitator in cooperation with the problem owner. The selection the experts depends on the major fields, phenomena, actors and other groups that are involved in the problem. At the start of the process, it may not be clear which fields, phenomena, actors and groups are involved. In that case, the facilitator undertakes in-depth interviews with the experts and actors that are known, in order to gain more information about the elements that ought to be involved.

 The Compram method can be used to avoid opposition at several moments in the problem handling process. In an early phase of the problem handling process opposition is anticipated. Analyzed opposition is already included in the definition of the problem. In the definition of the problem the actors, their goals, the origin of their opposition, the legal status of the opposition, and the power strength of the actors are analyzed by the ‘neutral‘ knowledge experts.

Knowing where opposition can be expected gives the problem-owner the opportunity to anticipate it. This way one knows with whom one has to deal with, and what the motives, power and steering instruments [6] of the opponents are. Opposition can come from many actors, at many different moments having been provoked by many things. According to the ideas of chaos theory it is not possible to anticipate each form of opposition in detail (Tennekes, 1988; Lorenz, 1989; DeTombe, 1992; Van Dijkum & DeTombe, 1996). The problem handling process is partly a self-organized process in which the actors react to each other and these reactions provoke new reactions etc. (Geyer & Van der Zouwen, 1986). These feedback loops of interaction are difficult to anticipate beforehand, even when the starting position is known.

The method Compram prescribes in a framework model of six +1 steps how to handle these kinds of problems. This is the Basic Approach of the method Compram (see for a more detailed description of the Compram approach DeTombe, 1994; DeTombe, 2003).

Prof. Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe
Founder and Chair International - , Euro - , West-Euro- & Dutch Operational Research Research Group Methodology of Societal Complexity
Sichuan University, Chengdu, P.R. China
Chair International Research Society on Methodology of Societal Complexity
多莉恩·德通教授 华人民共和国四川省成都市 一环南路一段24 四川大学
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EuropeTel: +31 20 6927526