Treating adaptive challenges as a technical problem results in failure. Most people have faced the reality of doing whatever they have in their powers to solve a problem but their effort has resulted in the same results. It calls for new ways of doing things. How can you for example distinguish a lion from a leopard? Or a leopard and a cheetah? Identifying the characteristics of different animals will enable you to master hence you will be able to distinguish them.
Adaptive challenge does not have rules of thumb. However, adaptive challenges present two signals.
These signals are:
1) A cycle of failures: This is the most dominant signal that results from the mistake of using a technical solution in solving adaptive challenges. People in authority make this mistake due to misinterpretation of the problem, misjudging the problem or by preference to avoid distress. By so doing, part of the problem will be solved leaving out the other part which may be avoided hence temporarily solved. Authorities will continue applying the same approach with more enthusiasm and consciousness but will end up with almost the same results. Anyway, how will you sow beans and expect to harvest maize?
2) Persistent dependence on authority: Adaptive challenges affect our society. Whether it is in our homes, work places, learning institutions and so on, those challenges will be experienced by people and solving it provides the same people with the answer to their problems; the people own the problem and solution. People in the society rely upon authorities to offer protection, give direction and also provide solutions to problems. This has worked well for the technical challenges.
People in authority cannot solve adaptive challenges by issuing instructions or by employing experts since the solution to these challenges lie in the competencies, in new attitudes, coordination and collaboration of the people facing the problem. This means the task of solving an adaptive challenge must be carried out by the same people who are connected to the challenge. Those in authority should be responsible in mobilizing people to do the work other than trying to offer solutions to them.