Tag: Nancy Southern

A Growing Need for Systems Thinking to Design a New Future

Having just returned from the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action conference, I continue to believe that building the capacity for all children to think systemically is the key to shaping a new world. The more we recognize that problems are rarely simple cause-and-effect, but rather complex threads of interconnected actions and inactions, we can begin… Read more »

Shifting the Focus from Menial to Meaningful

I experienced a series of events over the weekend that caused me to reflect on the challenges women face in this society and what we can do individually and collectively to change the way women are viewed, treated, and supported in leadership positions. The first event that sparked my reflection on this topic was viewing… Read more »

Complex Change Calls for Cross-Sector Collaboration

I had the opportunity last week to help facilitate a session for non-profit, business, technology, education, and media leaders who came together for the inaugural summit of ConvergeUS. Co-Chaired by TechNet’s CEO, Rey Ramsey, and Twitter’s Co-Founder, Biz Stone, ConvergeUS drives technology-based breakthroughs for critical social problems and thus accelerates social innovation. ConvergeUS—the non-profit arm… Read more »

Why Can’t People on the Front Lines Talk to Each Other?

Recently as I was listening to a critique of the work done in response to the latest natural disaster when the following comment was made: “We need to get the first responders to talk to each other.” On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request and something that we should expect from a… Read more »

Engaging Conversations Across the Political Divide

Recently one of my previous students sent me an email inviting me to write to my senators asking them to get on board with spending cuts. The email made the argument that just as individuals cannot continue to spend more than they bring in, neither can governments. She noted that she would “fire” all members… Read more »

Local or Global: Supporting Sustainable Thinking Through the Avoidance of Either/Or Thinking

I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We… Read more »

Creating Change through Dialogue: Balancing the Polarities of Power and Love

Adam Kahane’s powerful, 2010 book Power and Love: The Theory and Practice of Social Change brings together two theories and practices that I believe will inform the work we need to do now and in the future to address the critical needs of human existence in the 21st century and beyond.   This work centers around… Read more »

Engaging Discussions About Sustainability

Much of my time is spent talking about sustainability to people who think like I do. We have a great time discussing the problems and the needs as well as confirming our own beliefs and actions. As like-minded people often find each other, I imagine this is the case for many people dedicated to making… Read more »

Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking

I just returned from the 9th International conference on Transformative Learning, held this year in Athens, Greece.  I was struck by the constructive engagement of different points of view expressed by the Americans and the Europeans.  The field of transformative learning grew out of Jack Mezirow’s work at Columbia University in adult education, and he… Read more »

Organizational Systems: What Leaders Need to Know

Ask 1,500 CEOs what the greatest challenge their organizations face is and they’ll tell you it’s complexity.  We live in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world and leaders from every sector fear they are ill-equipped to meet the challenge.  Frank Kern, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services noted that the findings of their 2010… Read more »