Tag: Systems Theory


Systems thinking and courage

In all the books and research papers on systems thinking that I have read, I don’t think I have yet found the word courage as part of the language used. There is a lot written about systems thinking in terms of it’s relevance and importance, it’s theories and methodologies, but nothing about what it takes–emotionally…. Read more »

Trust, Governance, and the Internet

A recent article by Bruce Schneier, author of the book Liars and Outliers, is titled “The Battle for Power on the Internet.” As he introduces the problem: “We’re in the middle of an epic battle for power in cyberspace. On one side are the traditional, organized, institutional powers such as governments and large multinational corporations. On the other are… Read more »

Designing better worlds

There is a long lineage of systems thinkers, and systems scientists, who have proposed ways to purposefully design the social systems in which we live. Bela H. Banathy, who created the systems program at Saybrook, used an idealized approach to social systems design. John Warfield offered his Interactive Management process. His long-time colleague, Aleco Christakis,… Read more »

Using Scenario Planning to Prototype the Future

I’ve taken an interest in the topic of strategic thinking from both a research and a practitioner perspective. I’m currently working on a training program for mid-level leaders to help them develop their strategic thinking capabilities as they move from functional management roles into general management roles. One tool that I’ve included in the workshop… Read more »

How Do We Develop a Systems Perspective?

As awareness grows that we are living in a world, not just made up by parts, but by complex systems, the desire to develop a systems perspective is growing. I am co-presenting at a conference of social workers this week, helping them understand how poverty is a systemic issue and how approaches to solving it… Read more »

Complexity, Sustainability, and Narrative

Sorting out complexity is, by nature, difficult. When we talk about complexity we tend to mean something beyond normal, regular, or average.  Even agreeing on definitions is problematic. A search of the “systemspedia” in the online library of the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence found 362 entries related to complexity. (Note that… Read more »

The Mindful Socially Innovative Organization

Most human-centred social ventures spend much of their time in the domain of complexity. What makes these complex is not the human part, but the social. As we interact with our myriad beliefs, attitudes, bases of knowledge, and perceptions, we lay the foundation for complexity and the emergent properties than come from it. It’s why… Read more »