How do you find your way in an increasingly complex world? The answer that Dr. Nancy Southern gave the 2014 Systems Thinking in Action conference, seems simple at first glance: "Focus on Relationships."
A video of her presentation is now available in the "Library" of Rethinking Complexity, Saybrook's community dedicated to advancing systems thinking in the world.
There is a long connection between Saybrook and systems conversations, which continues to this day. The semi-annual conversations have been hosted by the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR), and were historically known as the Fuschl Conversations (due to their location at Fuschl am See in Austria). Bela Banathy, the founder of the systems program at Saybrook, initially led these conversations. He extended the conversations through the International Systems Institute, based in the US, hosting annual conversation events at Asilomar, in Pacific Grove, CA. Bela brought me into the IFSR where I have served as part of the Executive Committee since 2002, and President since 2010.
The seventeenth IFSR conversation was held this past April in Linz, Austria. It was the largest conversation that the IFSR has hosted to-date, with 42 participants working in six teams. The topics on which the teams chose to focus spanned a wide range of systems concerns, from the philosophy of systems to the principles of the conversation itself. One team considered the future of cybernetics, and another continued work on applications and models in systems engineering. A fifth team continued work on “curating the conditions for the emergence of thrivable systems.” The sixth team addressed the issue of systems research—ranging from what systems research is to the method(s) that a legitimate systems research project should ideally follow.
Humanity’s step into the 21st century has been accompanied by global problems in need of new solutions: better approaches to spreading human rights in a time of scarce resources, an increased understanding of environmental stewardship, and new strategies to create just and healthy societies around the world.
Most of us want to address these challenges, solve these problems, but don’t know how. An education designed to get us a job and keep us thinking inside the box doesn’t provide us with the tools needed to be more effective citizens of the 21st century.
But we can change that.
In June President Mark Schulman travelled to Japan sign a memorandum of understanding with Osaka Prefecture University for educational and scientific cooperation. While there, he met with Osaka’s President Taketoshi Okuno and other faculty. Osaka University is one of the largest public universities in Japan, enrolling more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges and seven undergraduate and graduate schools.
Saybrook University and Bainbridge Graduate Institute to hold workshop on cross-sector collaborative systems03/13/2013
Saybrook University is teaming up with Bainbridge Graduate Institute to hold a presentation and discussion on March 13, from 7 to 8:30 pm on “Tackling Wicked Problems - How can we Build and Support Cross-Sector Collaborative Systems?”
Much of the work in building a sustainable world is cross-sector work requiring collective leadership and collaborative action. Tapping the wisdom in the room, the workshop will identify a few wicked problems related to sustainability, discuss who needs to be engaged in addressing them, and the challenges and opportunities for that engagement. Using examples of emerging inter-organizational networks, the workshop will explore the role of managers and consultants in supporting collaborative engagement and collective leadership for creative, systemic change.
LIOS excels at designing curriculum that supports students in applying learning and leadership competencies toward solving real life problems. As part of the second year curriculum in the Leadership and Organization Development program, for example, students form a Benefit Corporation within which much of the curriculum is delivered. Students are challenged to model the type of leadership we want to bring to the world as future practitioners, while at the same time working within the context of the company to deliver products and services.
The Gnosis Project, the Benefit Corporation formed by the Fall 2013 student group, is conducting market research in order to identify meaningful trainings for the LIOS community, including alumni and current students. We are exploring how to expand perceptions of the skills and competencies that are required to be career ready when leaving LIOS.
The LIOS School of Saybrook University relies on alumni to help keep our doors open. No matter what your current contribution level is, you can easily increase your gift by almost $45,000 – at no cost to you. How?
Send a student to LIOS
Our statistics show that the vast majority of students who attend and complete one of our programs, don’t stumble upon us in an online search or pick up our flyer at a college fair. They seek us out because they know someone who’s been to LIOS, perhaps a friend, a family member, or a colleague. They see a skillful consultant at work, a therapist opens up their hidden potential, or they observe a transformation in a friend and they want to know where it comes from. Having experience with a LIOS graduate trumps every other recruitment tool we have. Even a single conversation with a LIOS graduate can plant a seed and, and sooner or later LIOS will reap the bounty.
By Dan Leahy
Associate Dean of LIOS Graduate College
With the proliferation of polarities rampant today, I’m rather fond of some of the “flash mob” videos that periodically show up on You Tube, particularly the ones in public spaces (the commons) that involve orchestras and choirs playing a human classic to the delights of the gathering citizens. To me this is an example of the human potential beyond our limitations: A moment that transcends our differences. Here’s the link to the most recent example that came from my daughter, Chelsea: http://bit.ly/Onvuc4
While I’ve never, yet, participated in one of these celebrations of Life, I’ve often imagined what it would be like. Well, if truth be told, I’ve actually wondered what it would be like to take part in a LIOS-inspired flash mob.
Gotta testify, come up in the spot looking extra fly, For the day I die, I'mma touch the Sky”
Kanye West, “Touch the Sky”
In life, we have no control over what inspires us. Inspiration can come from many different sources. I have been inspired by many unusual sources. When seeking inspiration, I often look to the Sky. I look to the Sky for many reasons.
In addition to being a metaphorical holding ground for the heavens, the Sky suggests dreaming, optimism, strength and a relationship with the atmosphere, a connection with the universe, an umbrella to all that is life. That is inspiration. That is the Sky.
Recently, I read an article in the American Express Open Forum by Melinda Emerson entitled 5-Ways Women Sabotage Themselves in Business.While the article itself was good, I felt like the scope was limited. I found myself wondering if men, those inferred to be in power, agreed with the points listed.
If the obstacles and challenges that women perceive themselves having are different from the ones their male co-workers, bosses, and employees see them as having, it seems like a significant disconnect in the office. This facet is also likely to come up increasingly, since the article states that women over 50 are starting businesses at a ratio of 2-to-1 over men.