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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Guest Contributors

Dan Pallotta, is a father, activist, and fundraiser who is speaking out against the current way that nonprofits operate. In March, 2013 Pallotta presented a TED Talk that passionately discusses how to change the way we think about a charity. He identifies a double standard—where too many nonprofits are rewarded for how little they spend and...
Photo courtesy of ChicagoSnowboarders.com
Last February, I went snowboarding for about the 18th time in 14 years. When 50, on a bit of a lark, I learned how to snow board. I was already too old to do this. The young boarders call any boarder over 50 “a gray on a tray,” and that was me. I so loved it. The joy of swooshing down the huge, miles-long slopes in Utah or Colorado....
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A number of months ago, I posted something on what I called "The Dimensions of Social Space," the gist of which was the proposal that we are called to tend to different dimensions of our social being in our change work—the autonomous/individual, the communal/collective, and the transcendant/"divine."  When I wrote...
Photo by Taraji Blue, courtesy of EvocateurBlog.com
The couch is ready for me—the remote just lying there ready for TV action. I can go watch a game, surf some channels, and chill out. I also have a tough book to read and a paper to write and maybe, instead of surfing and zoning out, I will put my head into this taxing book, then sit at a computer and try to write something coherent and...
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...
Change happens. How a person accepts and adapts to change is a pretty personal decision. Some people like to wait and see how things shape up before acting or responding to change. Others jump in immediately and just go with it, relying on impulse and quick decision-making. Whatever the approach, we always need to gain some kind of traction and...
Photo courtesy of BeliefNet.com
"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will." — Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st Prime Minister of India (1889-1964) How do you deal with change? How comfortable are you with what is on your plate? Are you creating or are you resisting? The quality of your ...
Systems thinkers have long adopted the iceberg analogy as a way to describe the events, patterns, and underlying structures that drive the behaviors that affect performance within a system. The iceberg is a perfect metaphor because it depicts just how much of what is really going on lies beneath the surface—out of sight. For many, out of...
How do today’s leaders create profound innovation in the face of complexity? According to an executive report by the IBM Institute for Business Value, they do it by “embracing dynamic tensions.” In a report released in July, "Cultivating organizational creativity in an age of complexity," Barbara J. Lombardo and Daniel...
The notion of perfection has been on my mind a lot lately. While working with a group that is feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the challenges it is confronting, I notice the discussions seem to swirl around a notion, unspoken but heard by all: “Whatever we do, it better be the right answer—we can’t afford to fail!”...
Photo courtesy of Carla Kimball/Pegasus Communications.
I’ve been facilitating group experiences for almost 25 years. One of the first things I learned was the importance of creating a sense of safety so that people can fully participate in the work they have gathered to do together. The best way to begin that process is to give participants a chance to check in and introduce themselves. Early on...
How can we end the cycles of violence and injustice that cause so much suffering and misery? Is a more peaceful and equitable world really possible? If so, what would it actually look like? My research over several decades has focused on these questions. They are questions deeply rooted in my own early life experiences, when my parents and I...