Department of Education, Research Report 220
The purpose of this study is to investigate which forms of conducting interventions could effectively address a qualitatively new type of problems (’post-industrial problems’) which are located between activities and which cannot be resolved by adapting standard solutions. This is achieved by combining a historical-analytical investigation with an empirical-experimental investigation. The historical-analytical part commences by investigating the origin of forms of conducting interventions with a unit of analysis for the further procedure as an outcome. The unit of analysis serves as the basis for the analysis of some selected past and contemporary forms of conducting interventions. This leads to the comprehension of the historical dynamics of forms of conducting interventions, including a historical hypothesis of a zone of proximal development. The empirical-experimental part takes the study from the comprehension of the current state to a discussion of a qualitatively new form of conducting interventions that could address post-industrial problems effectively. Concrete characteristics of an example of a new form of conducting interventions are identified by following the developmental trajectory of theoretically interesting cases that experiment with new models of intervention. The Change Laboratory method is used to analyze and support the development in the central empirical case, a New Zealand-based research-consultancy hybrid. The historical analyses suggest that intervention activity has its roots in societal problem-solving processes, that is, innovation and diffusion processes, associated with periods of radical change in work and organizations, such as those occurring during technological revolutions.