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The complexity of our network society and the challenges ahead of us require new educational models to train students but also professionals to thrive in complex environments. Addressing complexity is not a journey one can do alone, neither from one discipline perspective only. As Theory U (Sharmer, 2007) suggests, education needs to be accessible to everyone, empowering (putting the learner into the driver's seat of profound personal, professional and societal renewal); and transformational (providing new learning environments that activate the deepest human capacities to create -both individually and collectively). Inspired by Theory U, connectivism, community of practices and design thinking, we have created our own model, the E-MODEL,  to address wicked challenges and create societal value. 

During our Value Creators semester, students use the E-Model to address complexity and guide the process of value creation. We have as well experimented with the model together with professionals, companies, local and national governments. 

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler". - Albert Einstein

Creating value with the E-Model

The E-Model is a practical tool that invites users to explore their roles as change makers and deal with global challenges, which have also an impact at local level and inside of different organisations. The methodology is simple and provides a flexible approach to discover networks with power to set things into action. In that sense, it is more process focused than solution focused. The flexibility of this model allows users to apply the model to press-cooker sessions, really short in time, or extend the model through several months. If you are interested in experiencing how to work with it, we offer training and workshops that could help your organisation deal with complex issues. Please do not hesitate to contact us


The process of value creation starts with exploring which wicked challenge or global goal do we want to address and why. What are the possible causes and consequences of this challenge, what is the big dream and what possible approaches? During this phase, users of the model need to formulate all the different ramifications of the wicked problem they will be working with. Gaining clarity in all implications, allows the identification of the road to take and the people that needs to change mindsets and behavior to take action in order to facilitate the process of value creation.


The second phase of our model invites users to explore the networks that are necessary to involve in order to create value. When working with wicked challenges, there are no true or false paths to follow leading to societal value. The networks involved usually define these paths by finding common ground and collective understanding. In this phase is essential to identify who needs to be involved in the process, who owns the knowledge, expertise, capacity and intention to take action and make things happen.


It is time now to define actions for all the stakeholders involved. Here is about the what. What needs to be done by all these networks in order to set action and create the desired or expected value. The formulations need to be clear in order to crystallize ideas and create a prototype. 


Users need to define the value that has been created by taking the previous steps. Societal value is difficult to measure, but we have different methods to do it. They depend on the type of issue address and the stakeholders involved. If necessary in this phase it is time for adjustments and improvements, as well as recommendation for further actions. 

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