Turning Policy Into Practice

ShadowBox scenarios are uniquely effective as a tool for helping organizations illustrate policies.

Many organizations toil over crafting the perfect policies that attempt to capture the complexities of real-world situations. In a recent post on his Psychology Today blog, Gary Klein discussed how policies alone can be insufficient without a way to illustrate their limitations.

We believe that ShadowBox training is an effective tool for enhancing policy. Our scenarios, for example in child welfare, have been used to stimulate discussion about policy gray areas, or situations in which the procedures are simply insufficient.

The bottom-line argument in Gary’s article is that policies must take into account how systems and individuals may break down or get confused. This is connected to our previous post about the Mental Model Matrix: policies on their own are not enough because they only pertain to one quadrant in the matrix (how the system works), while ignoring the other three (how the system fails; how individuals fit in to the system; and ways in which individuals may make errors).