A system is a set of interconnected elements which form a whole and show properties which are properties of the whole rather than of the individual elements. This definition is valid for a cell, an organism, a society, or a galaxy. Joanna Macy says that a system is less a thing than a pattern—a pattern of organization. It consists of a dynamic flow of interactions which is non-summative, irreducible, and integrated at a new level of organization permitted by the interdependence of its parts. The word “system” derives from the...
A lot of people consider “storying” an inborn knack or talent. Some listen intently, while others envy the natural-born storytellers around them. Truth is, natural “storying” with strategic intent can be learned by anyone. "Storying," or storytelling, as a means of expressing personal identity has risen in popularity recently among career advisors and executive consultants. Leadership researchers have also become intrigued in studying the notion of storying. Among rhetorical strategies, telling a "...
I have a problem with my neighbors and it's bothering me more than I like to admit. I like having good neighbors and was raised to be a good neighbor, but there's basic problem we can't seem to resolve: They fear and hate dogs; my husband and I have two dogs. Our problem may sound simple, but it's a complex situation. So I decided to use complexity as a lens for exploring what's going on. The idea to do so came to me while attending an online webinar recently. During the webinar, we learned how to use a mind mapping tool...
Leading thinkers in sustainability have known for some time now that a sustainable society can’t be based on continuous consumption. The question was always: how do we get there? A recent column in the New York Times suggests that it’s happening on its own, without any help from us. In “We’re Spent,” journalist David Leonhardt suggests that the drying up of credit and access to easy debt is functioning the same way as environmentalists have suggested that running out of natural resources eventually...
Omigod—I'm due to write a blog and I have nothing to say! Oh, wait, yes I do—I’ve been in South Asia for a few weeks. Why don’t I try to put together some impressions of Asia and compare it from afar to the U.S.? That's what we've been doing over dinner since I've been here. I have been in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore, in recent weeks conducting workshops for young members of business families. Our discussions have given me a cross-section of the current state of business and commerce in South...
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