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How to Solve Almost Any Problem by Alan Barker

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Chapter 4

Am I bothered?: blame, resistance and the call to ownership

Problems without owners, they say, usually become problems without solutions.

I think we use the word ‘ownership’ as a kind of shorthand for the way we relate to a problem. In this chapter, we’ll look at four levels of ownership, and how each profoundly affects the way we go about solving a problem.

In and out of control

Our ownership of a problem increases when we feel more in control.

A sense of personal control is vital for our well-being. Without it we feel uncomfortable, and may start to feel ill. Control is what you lose when you’re stuck in a traffic jam for no apparent reason. It’s what we deny people when we put them in an old people’s home or in prison. Control ...

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