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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Nancy Southern

Last year, opportunity came knocking at our door in the form of a dynamic young Chinese woman who expressed interest in taking our organizational systems Ph.D. program to China as an offering to Chinese business and government executives. Having done my dissertation research in China, taught in another American university program in Beijing, and...
A couple of months ago, I came across an article in my local paper entitled, American “Allergy” to Global Warming, Why?" The article asked why so many Americans remain in denial about climate change when such a great amount of scientific evidence exists that indicates it is our reality. The article reviews some of the scientific...
Over my lifetime, I have learned from experience that holding an intention for change can result in creating the desired change. I have seen it work in bringing people and relationships into my life, creating the work I desired, and helping me develop a path forward to create the change. Essentially, I learned that if I could envision it, I could...
Photo courtesy of Quest to Learn.
Having just returned from the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action conference, I continue to believe that building the capacity for all children to think systemically is the key to shaping a new world. The more we recognize that problems are rarely simple cause-and-effect, but rather complex threads of interconnected actions and inactions, we can begin...
Photo courtesy of the She 2.0 Network (www.she20network.com).
I experienced a series of events over the weekend that caused me to reflect on the challenges women face in this society and what we can do individually and collectively to change the way women are viewed, treated, and supported in leadership positions. The first event that sparked my reflection on this topic was viewing a show on Oprah's OWN...
Photo courtesy of ConvergeUS.
I had the opportunity last week to help facilitate a session for non-profit, business, technology, education, and media leaders who came together for the inaugural summit of ConvergeUS. Co-Chaired by TechNet’s CEO, Rey Ramsey, and Twitter’s Co-Founder, Biz Stone, ConvergeUS drives technology-based breakthroughs for critical social...
Photo courtesy of LoHud.com.
Recently as I was listening to a critique of the work done in response to the latest natural disaster when the following comment was made: “We need to get the first responders to talk to each other.” On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request and something that we should expect from a group of people dedicated to helping...
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 Chairs Under Trees.
I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We...
Adam Kahane’s powerful, 2010 book Power and Love: The Theory and Practice of Social Change brings together two theories and practices that I believe will inform the work we need to do now and in the future to address the critical needs of human existence in the 21st century and beyond.   This work centers around addressing the...
Diagram courtesy of Nancy Southern.
Much of my time is spent talking about sustainability to people who think like I do. We have a great time discussing the problems and the needs as well as confirming our own beliefs and actions. As like-minded people often find each other, I imagine this is the case for many people dedicated to making a difference in creating a sustainable world....
I just returned from the 9th International conference on Transformative Learning, held this year in Athens, Greece.  I was struck by the constructive engagement of different points of view expressed by the Americans and the Europeans.  The field of transformative learning grew out of Jack Mezirow’s work at Columbia University in...