‘The challenge comes with storms when the surface water drains into sewers. Our sewer system does not have the capacity to handle this surge for all kinds of reasons. What we need to do is keep the surface water out of the sewers until there is capacity.’
‘So what if we’d put a water butt on every house? Would that help?’
‘Ah you’re employing the ‘nibbler’ strategy.’
I had no idea what it was, but apparently it is the approach taken when you ‘nibble’ around the edges of a complex challenge. Rather than do nothing, we nibble. Sometimes this buys us time or space to address the core of the harder complex challenge. And sometimes it is a way of hiding from the complexity.
While my friend, Pete, and I were talking about water management, the same strategy can be applied to humanitarian data issues or any complex system challenge.
When you nibble, you are the only one who knows if you are creating space or hiding.
The choice is up to us.