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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Government

In 2008, I flew to Beijing, China, at the invitation of a friend who had arranged my hotel accomodations. This particular trip—my first in a series of several business trips to China to work on consulting projects in the year that followed—coincided with China’s National Day, which is celebrated on October 1st. When I arrived in...
Imagine our private organizations operating like the federal government. What if we belonged to parties inside our workplaces and chose to work or not based on what our party determined? What if we could refuse to implement a needed plan just because our party does not agree? I have been working in private for-profit and non-profit organizations...
Photo of Thomas L. Friedman courtesy of The Aspen Times.
I tuned into CNN this morning the way I typically do before breakfast when a quotation on the screen immediately grabbed my attention: "shock to the system." The quote belonged to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman who was discussing how he believes that a third-party, presidential candidate could deliver the systemic jolt...
Art by Alex Ross.
Criticizing the leadership capabilities of presidential hopeful Barack Obama was considered a blasphemous act of heresy during the summer of 2008. Back then, you were asking for trouble and social ostracism if you dared cast doubt over Obama's vague notions of hope, change, and the future of the U.S. across various sectors. Today, it's OK...
Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Enterprise Services.
The reality of war has had a profound influence on my life. This influence is hard to see. In fact, it's invisible. I would have kept it hidden if I hadn't read Clay Sellers' August 26 post, "Beyond the Clouds of War: A Faint, Silver Lining." His writing inspired me to explore the complexity that a legacy of war has had on my...
It’s been a bad week for government and technology. It was revealed this week that the medical records of over 300,000 Californians sat on unsecured servers … leaving everything from insurance claims to social security numbers available to anyone who wanted to Google it. On the other side of the spectrum, Florida Governor Rick Scott...
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.
We're on the cusp of watching real change sweep through Libya this week as rebel fighters seize the capital city of Tripoli in their ongoing effort to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. With a new political body ready to replace Gadhafi's 42-year regime, the rebels' plight toward freedom these past six months has been fueled by...
Photo courtesy of AmericaSpeaks.
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 of the U.S. Congress for...
Photo courtesy of eHow.com.
A sustainable organization is capable of "thriving in perpetuity." Those were the words of environmental activisit Adam Werbach—words I first came across earlier this week while reading Alexander and Kathia Laszlo's post, The Practices of Systemic Sustainability. Werbach's use of the word perpetuity stuck with me these past...
Looking at the gridlock in Congress and the failing leadership of our president, I have been reflecting on the relationship between decisions and results. It's hard to think about the wisdom of the hive when we see Congress’ ineffectiveness. Their group process also has aspects of dysfunctional groupthink, indiscriminate blaming, and the...
Photo of Rep. Trey Gowdy courtesy of The Washington Times.
Last night on CNN, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina used the "s" word to describe the kind of change he wants to see in Washington, D.C., to end the recurring debt-default issue once and for all. The "s" word he used was systemic. "Systemic change," Mr. Gowdy said, is the change he'd like to...
As America’s countdown towards default continues, we keep hearing that it’s “uncertainty” about the economy that is keeping companies with big bank on hand from hiring new employees. That seems reasonable on its face.  After all, the news reports say we’re headed towards financial Armageddon … and...