INSTRUCTOR: DR. WILLIAM ANTHONY RIVERA
The great challenge for crafting and conducting strategic influence campaigns is accounting for the wide variety of actors, population types, decision-making styles, and the many interweaving and interacting environments within, among, and through which influence occurs. Because of the complex nature of these environments, planners must account for messages being confused, moving through the wrong channels and reaching the wrong audiences, messages arriving too late or too soon, and other difficulties. While some of these potential pitfalls are natural to communication in general, for strategic influence campaigns they are compounded by the potential cost of failure, the sensitive nature of the messaging in many cases, and the extremely complex nature of the space—made even more complex by technology which makes every message a potential global story, for better or worse. This course locates an answer to these challenges in the principles of complex adaptive systems coupled with theoretical and methodological diversity. The fundament here is this: if one is dealing with a complex problem, the best approach is to use the theories and tools of complex adaptive systems theory to understand it and thereby inform the proposed solution.