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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Sustainability

It seems that many of the conversations I am engaged in these days focus on the need for organizations to collaborate. When I first started working in the area of collaboration, the focus was on creating cultures in organizations that supported people in collaborating across their often siloed functional structures.  Maybe that was the...
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I have been interviewing family owners of large global family enterprises that have sustained the family wealth and positive connections over several generations. One member of the 4th generation of a family--now numbering more than 100 family owners--reflected on her experience of going to annual family business meetings for nearly a half century...
Image provided by Jorge Taborga
It does not take much analysis to conclude that we are at the threshold of much needed change. We live in a world in crisis: economic, social, and environmental. Our nations are trapped in an economic model that no longer works. We believe that more technology, higher consumerism, and fewer regulations will fix our economies and life will be...
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...
Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/GlobalLeadershipLab
I had a powerful experience this past week. It was the launch of the Global Leadership Lab, an organization I co-founded even though it was never my plan to do so. The experience has shown me the power of pure intention and deep collaboration in the quest to accelerate systemic transformation. For the past six months, I have been part of a magical...
Photo courtesy of RCWCares.org
For me, this year promises to be a year of integration. Recently, a colleague told me that I am a weaver. We were working on the design of a leadership program for social innovators when she said, “And just as I thought that we were done, your brought in another thread and weaved it to make this idea even more complete, more beautiful....
Photo provided by Kerubo Abuya
Today the world celebrates the International Day of Human Rights, and lately I have been reflecting on conversations that I have been engaged in where the topics of leadership, human rights, and activism become points of curiosity for me. In late November, I attended the fourth annual African Women and Political Leadership conference in Lilongwe,...
Photo by Wernher Krutein, Corbis.
The difficulties around healthcare in the U.S. remain as complex as ever. I have spent the last two months experiencing those in a very personal way. Twenty-two years ago, a close family member—let’s call her Millie—was diagnosed with cancer and given a poor prognosis.  She beat the odds and survived. This summer, she was...
Image courtesy of BioneersGroup.com
Imagine a different world. Imagine a world where we can solve all the problems that plague humanity. Imagine a world where we learn how to live within the limits of our planet and co-exist in harmony with all living creatures. Imagine a world with new organizations and new cultures that honor our individual gifts and soul paths, and celebrate our...
Photo of OS graduate students by Kathia Laszlo
My work has been grounded in systems thinking. That has been the intellectual field that has informed my inquiry and has justified my natural tendency for connecting seemingly unrelated things and expanded boundaries. The field that has supported my personal quest for greater integration and inclusivity. However, although I continue to do much of...
Photo of New Mexico courtesy of National Geographic
Since I became involved in sustainability work six years ago, my life path has changed quite dramatically. I have moved to another state where I could live for less in a natural environment that reminds me daily of the life we need to protect. I have changed my patterns of consumption and waste, and make a conscious effort to minimize my negative...
Not too long ago, I sat with a small group of sustainability science “backcasters” at an international sustainability conference at the University of Utrecht in Holland. Forecasters look at trends related to sustainability to predict the future. Backcasters envision the idealized sustainable global future and research ways to get us...