Dave is working on a theory of change, which I think is a good thing. In this latest post he has a nice summation of the way to move to action in complex situations (like cultures):
So where we are looking at culture change (to take an example), we first map the narrative landscape to see what the current dispositional state is. That allows us to look at where we have the potential to change, and where change would be near impossible to achieve. In those problematic cases we look more to stimulating alternative attractors rather that attempting to deal with the problem directly. Our method is the look at the narrative landscape and then ask the questions What can I (we) do tomorrow to create more stories like these and fewer like those? The question engages people in action without analysis and it allows us to take an approach that measures vectors (speed and direction) rather than outcome. The question also allows widespread engagement in small actions in the present, which reduces the unexpected (and potentially negative) consequences of large scale interventions.
In sum, complexity work is about understanding the context to understand where the potential for evolution might lie. From there you try experiements to see what you can learn, and support what works while removing support for what doesn’t
It’s an old saw, but it’s actually a simple thing. And I keep writing about it because it seems TOO simple for most folks. Shouldn’t strategy be more ordered, laid out and thought through than this.
As always the answer depends, but with complex situations the answer is no. Save your discipline and rigour for understanding things as they evolve rather than trying to get it all right from the start.