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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Systems Theory

By Szentkiralyi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by
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...
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luciano Marano [Pu
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...
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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 must also be systemic. Fortunately, the...
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...
Image provided by Jorge Taborga
We seem to have limited understanding of how important it is to design organizations.  This may come from our background of inheriting and not being able to design our own families. Most of us feel that we can only do our best in the context of our family organization and have little control on how it evolves. The same is not true for the...
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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 we are...
Image provided by Jorge Taborga
Have you ever wondered how organizations evolve their structure? When is the optimal time to change the structure of an organization? What should the structure be and why? How should this structure be represented? Organizational structures are typically represented as inverted trees with the root of the organization at the top and its adjacent...
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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 Jennifer Wilby courtesy of ISSS.org
I attended the International Society for the Systems Sciences (or ISSS) conference this summer in San Jose, California, and I was fortunate to share the experience with a dear group of students and collaborators. I have been part of ISSS since 1999 and this scholarly community has been part of my “intellectual family.” Each year, in...
I am attending the annual conference of the International Society of Systems Sciences (or ISSS) along with a number of Saybrook faculty members, students, alumni, and colleagues from around the world. What each person here has in common is an understanding of the complexity that makes up the world we live in today and the urgency to transform the...
Systems thinking is a holistic form of understanding, analysis, and problem solving. It's also a way to bring balanced, more impactful solutions to our businesses and social challenges. But what about design thinking? Design thinking involves using design methodologies to address all of our important inquiries. There is an emerging notion of...
Image courtesy of Jamshid Gharajedaghi
There's a cold, hard fact that a majority of us MBAs don't learn in business school and it's the reality that companies falter and fail quite badly, quite often. Theoretically, a company's competitive advantage should strengthen its positioning and it's ability to succeed among competitors. This, we MBAs are told, is done by...