Category: Rethinking Complexity Posts


Destructive Cycle/Generative Cycle

After going through a long destructive cycle in my life, where everything I counted on fell away, I have emerged into a generative period in which life energy has returned, and I am moving toward the world again. This period of disintegration changed everything for me. Keeping my seat as life’s fabric unraveled was hard,… Read more »

Complexity and Grace

I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through… Read more »

Creating Safe Spaces to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

Many of today’s complexity-related challenges require leaders to create more space in the workplace for people to share their difficulties and concerns, and explore new ways of addressing them. Whenever we are facing the unknown, doing something we haven’t done before, and unsure how to approach a new challenge or what the outcome might be, we… Read more »

The T-Summit

I recently attended a meeting at the Almaden Research Lab near San Jose, CA.  The T-Summit was jointly sponsored by Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute and IBM’s Global University Programs.  As described in the announcement about the meeting: Employers are placing increasing importance on competencies that allow young professionals to handle information from multiple sources, advance professional relationships across… Read more »

Shifting From International to Inter-Cultural Global Manager

Over the last five decades, while business contexts were evolving from national to international to transnational and now to global, workplace environments were shifting from “control-oriented” hierarchies to interactive teams to social networking ecologies. Such shifts in perspectives, accompanied by innovations in digital-based information and communication systems, have led to dramatic changes in business models,… Read more »

Intention: Vital to Effective Action

“He who has a why can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche We all know intention without action leads to nothing, but what about action without intention? When we focus on accomplishing something before fully considering the purpose behind it, the action can be a wasted effort. Your intention is important because you gain… Read more »

Getting Over Happiness: A Contrarian’s Meditation

An emerging field of research informs us about relative “levels” of happiness reported in various countries. I learned that Finns are the happiest people in the world, except perhaps for the citizens of Bhutan, who regularly  report their Gross National Happiness Index.  I assume that the residents of tropical paradises are also happy. But I… Read more »

Revitalizing Downtown Communities

Recently I had the opportunity to visit and experience the work being done as part of the Las Vegas  Downtown Project.  It is a $350M project with a mission to “ transform Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world”.   They are working on that mission actively through the purchase of real… Read more »

Saybrook in Japan: An International Collaboration for Innovation in Applied Systems Science

I just returned from another trip to Japan, this time including a first visit to Osaka.  The first few days were spent in Tokyo, at the seventh workshop and symposium about service systems science, hosted by Prof. Kyoichi (Jim) Kijima from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  The purpose of the event was “to describe visions… Read more »

Myths About Leadership

In 2010 IBM published a study identifying complexity as the primary challenge for leaders.  Intuitively, we can relate to this study’s premise.  However, we may have different understandings of complexity ranging from mere complication to total chaos. Complexity can be defined as a state of intricacy, complication, variety and involvement in the interconnected parts of… Read more »