rutenso – The art of thriving in times of constant change

Everyone knows that working in a Solutions Focus way involved focusing on solutions, right?  That’s the part that everyone gets.  Focus on the solution, not on the problem.  Well, that’s right, of course.  And… there is so much more to SF than this.  I have been thinking about how to convey all the other wonderful elements of what makes SF so different, and so effective in situations where other approaches don’t seem to gain traction.  So, here is my latest thinking on this – rutenso.

rutenso comes from the Japanese word ruten, which means ‘constant and ceaseless change’.  It seems that the Japanese have many different words for different kinds of change (the same is said of Eskimos and snow).  Perhaps it’s connected with an Eastern way of looking at things – witness the amazing responses of the people of Japan to the recent tsunami disaster.  There is definitely a way of accepting and responding which has been shown to the upset and confusion created by the huge wave of water, with thousands dead and millions affected.

So, ruten means constant change.  When the suffix ‘-so’ is added, this means ‘phases of’ or more poetically ‘working with’.  So ruten-so is about working with constant change.  Those who have heard me speak about SF will know that I always start my talks with the one-line definition of SF: ‘Change is happening all the time: therefore the simple way is to find USEFUL change and amplify it’.

rutenso can be written as three kanji characters, as in the picture on the right.  The same character set is used for Chinese too.  In Chinese, these three characters mean ‘flow-turn-image’.  It also has overtones of good fortune through change.

rutenso is a new word, and I will be writing about it over the coming weeks and months.  I hope to show how the idea of working with constant change gives a great framework to think about SF practice in a much wider way that focusing on solutions – to give a name and some substance to the ‘SF paradigm’, the framework of thinking, that SF brings.  Please SHARE THIS post via all the channels you can, and get people talking about it!

And by the way, if you are in the Los Angeles area I am giving the 2nd BNI Lecture on the subject of rutenso at La Verne University, Tuesday 12 April at 7.30pm in the Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium.  Free tickets available to the public at http://markmckergowlaverne.eventbrite.com/.

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14 responses

  1. Very interesting. Looking forward to see what images of SF will flow from rutenso.

  2. Ruten-so seems at first glance interesting and hopefully useful as a widening description of SF work.Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  3. Gun-Eva Andersson Långdahl | Reply

    Thank you Mark, for one more interesting way of thinking about SF. Looking forward hearing more!
    Gun-Eva

  4. Arthur Battram | Reply

    Well said, Mark.

    I like this neologism.

  5. Hi Mark,

    I have printed out the symbols and have them on my wall to remind me of this truth. Thanks for the post. I also liked being reminded about your saying, “find useful change and amplify it.” All the best, Suzanne

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Many thanks for taking the trouble to do this and for finding a way to use the symbols here. Excellent idea!
      Great to hear from you.
      Cheers
      Mark

  6. […] a good crowd turned up and we talked about the philosophy of rutenso (see my previous blog at https://sfworkblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/rutenso-the-art-of-thriving-in-times-of-constant-change/) and narrative emergence (paper available for download at http://tinyurl.com/6yxrwsz).  The final […]

  7. Looking forward Mark to reading more about your Rutenso thinking and would love to see how it links to host leadership

  8. […] that informs how I can be agile in moving in the direction of my goal. (Thanks to Mark McKergow for Rutenso and Solutions Focus […]

  9. […] I discussed in the previous posting in this series (https://sfworkblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/rutenso-the-art-of-thriving-in-times-of-constant-change/), rutenso is a philosophy for thriving in times of constant change.  It’s the power the makes […]

  10. […] Mark McKergow, SFWoks, har utvecklat begreppet RUTENSO som handlar om konsten att arbeta med konstant förändring i en komplex och dynamisk värld. I det följande skall jag knyta an till några av hans tankar i ämnet och de konsekvenser som följer i det dagliga. Exempel på komplexa och föränderliga miljöer är ekologiska, ekonomiska och sociala system och nätverk. Kännetecknande för dessa levande system är att de består av oöverskådligt komplexa och svårgripbara processer och händelser. Detta till skillnad från mer statiska och mekaniska system där vi kan anta att det som händer är det vi avsett skall ske som ett resultat av noggranna beräkningar och kalkylerade aktiviteter. I ett stabilt system följer framgång av att någon har gjort rätt analys av miljön, hittat rätt förutsägelse av framtiden och identifierat alla de aktiviteter som behövs på vägen för att nå önskvärda resultat samtidigt som osäkerhet och avvikelser elimineras. […]

  11. […] that informs how I can be agile in moving in the direction of my goal. (Thanks to Mark McKergow for Rutenso and Solutions Focus […]

  12. […] Mark McKergow, SFWoks, har utvecklat begreppet RUTENSO som handlar om konsten att arbeta med konstant förändring i en komplex och dynamisk värld. I det följande skall jag knyta an till några av hans tankar i ämnet och de konsekvenser som följer i det dagliga. Exempel på komplexa och föränderliga miljöer är ekologiska, ekonomiska och sociala system och nätverk. Kännetecknande för dessa levande system är att de består av oöverskådligt komplexa och svårgripbara processer och händelser. Detta till skillnad från mer statiska och mekaniska system där vi kan anta att det som händer är det vi avsett skall ske som ett resultat av noggranna beräkningar och kalkylerade aktiviteter. I ett stabilt system följer framgång av att någon har gjort rätt analys av miljön, hittat rätt förutsägelse av framtiden och identifierat alla de aktiviteter som behövs på vägen för att nå önskvärda resultat samtidigt som osäkerhet och avvikelser elimineras. […]

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