Problem - Challenge Cycle

In the United States, people are often rewarded for quick and decisive action. But in the work of equity, diversity, inclusion, healing justice, and liberation moving directly from a new awareness to action is not always effective. Despite the best of intentions, because racism and other forms of inequity are so ingrained in our culture, we run the risk of re-creating harmful dynamics when we move to action before we have full understanding.

Problem-Challenge cycle infographic

The problem-challenge cycle is a riff of the scientific method and several organizational development models. We have incorporated integration of analysis as a way of embodying what we learn as we evolve in the work of equity, diversity, inclusion, healing justice, and liberation. This cycle helps us temper our desire to jump to premature “action” and find a one-off solution. Instead, it slows us down and builds a practice of taking additional steps after we’re inspired by a new awareness. These additional steps are themselves forms of action, and they root efforts in informed analysis. Using this model leads us to listen and learn from those who are most impacted by racism and inequity, resulting in more lasting, effective, relationship-building solutions. With practice and experience, we begin to move through the steps more quickly and grow in our ability to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and justice. This process is reciprocal and iterative; organizations and individuals continue to draw from our course content as they deepen their analysis over time.
We center racial equity and intersectionality as we guide organizations to assess and reflect on their operations, communications, growth, impact, community engagement and organizational culture.

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Movement Building

“Something I appreciate about CDE and more now that I have had time to process, really, is the focus on relationship, which is really missing in a lot of spaces. I see a lot of my colleagues pushing policy but not relationships, and so I’ve really come to value relationship. That character building of relationship across difference – it takes time, but the ability to listen to someone with a different perspective is so needed.” – Environment 2042 Leadership Program Alumnus