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Rethinking Complexity

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I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through a technological (quick...
Many of today’s complexity-related challenges require leaders to create more space in the workplace for people to share their difficulties and concerns, and explore new ways of addressing them. Whenever we are facing the unknown, doing something we haven’t done before, and unsure how to approach a new challenge or what the outcome...
I recently attended a meeting at the Almaden Research Lab near San Jose, CA.  The T-Summit was jointly sponsored by Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute and IBM's Global University Programs.  As described in the announcement about the meeting: Employers are placing...
Over the last five decades, while business contexts were evolving from national to international to transnational and now to global, workplace environments were shifting from “control-oriented” hierarchies to interactive teams to social networking ecologies. Such shifts in perspectives, accompanied by innovations in digital-based...
Recently I had the opportunity to visit and experience the work being done as part of the Las Vegas  Downtown Project.  It is a $350M project with a mission to “ transform Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world”.   They are working on that mission actively through the purchase of real...
I just returned from another trip to Japan, this time including a first visit to Osaka.  The first few days were spent in Tokyo, at the seventh workshop and symposium about service systems science, hosted by Prof. Kyoichi (Jim) Kijima from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  The purpose of the event was “to describe visions of the...
In 2010 IBM published a study identifying complexity as the primary challenge for leaders.  Intuitively, we can relate to this study’s premise.  However, we may have different understandings of complexity ranging from mere complication to total chaos. Complexity can be defined as a state of intricacy, complication, variety and...
Over time, people across the world have self-organized themselves in a variety of ways. There are tribes, villages, towns and cities. Then there are city-states, nation-states and even empires. All have cultures, even subcultures that make them distinctive and give them an identity. They have borders that create separation and avenues of commerce...
Tom was born in the mid-sixties in a family of small self-made entrepreneurs. His destiny had to be to continue the family business, to potentially bring it to its next level of development. The family understood that for that to happen, Tom would have to complete engineering studies. This is where he would successfully learn...
Though Wall Street may not thoroughly rally around Satya Nadella to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO at Microsoft, I believe this so-called “safe choice” is a compelling one because it signals a radical shift in management style at the company. Nadella is described as smart, persuasive and likeable. He’s also known as a great...
Last week, I joined with nearly one thousand public, private and non-profit professionals who came from all around the world, system leaders who gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) along with an equal number of participants who joined via on-line web streaming technology. At the “Global Presencing Forum,” co-...
My name is Christine Haskell and I started People of Pioneer Square (#PeopleofPSQ) to put a face on my neighborhood. Pioneer Square is Seattle's most popular vice district and the heart of the city (historically and architecturally). I believe that vice districts are created due to benign deglect. I want to understand and make my neighborhood...