Category: Rethinking Complexity Posts


Sometimes, It Pays to Think

Bill Gates apparently took time out of his busy schedule to guest edit the December 2013 issue of Wired Magazine. In that issue is an article entitled, “This is the Man Bill Gates Thinks you Absolutely Should be Reading.” The article opens with the quotation from Gates, “’There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.’” … Read more »

Fear: Its Impact on Individuals and Organizations

Fear is often a hidden and unconscious emotion, an emotion that is at the root of our inaction and ‘stuckness’ in our careers and personal lives. What we often see on the surface are the symptoms of fear. Those symptoms may manifest in many ways: as anger, grief, physical pain (yes, physical pain), lack of… Read more »

Great Leadership Requires Asking Questions

So often we look to leaders to provide answers to the most challenging problems we face, whether in politics or business. In fact, great leaders are those who instead ask the right questions and engage others to arrive at the best answers together. The media overly promotes a single businessman, politician or sports star as… Read more »

Will Cyborgs Ever Learn to Pray?

One morning last week, I awoke from a strange dream. I don’t recall all the particulars, but it involved a scene where I was living and working with a group of “not-quite-human” creatures made of silicone, integrated circuits and bio-engineered, synthetic flesh. These engineered creatures seemed to have acquired human-like appearances, capabilities, and behaviors; to… Read more »

Listen for a Change

As I write this post, I am in Mexico City having just spent the day with a group of mid-career managers facilitating a program about how to have more productive conversations at work. I cannot say for sure what the participants got from today’s session, but I definitely walked away with some food for thought…. Read more »

Social Media, Shared Learning, and the Consciousness of Collaboration

Recently, through a Saybrook University learning experiment entitled “Project X” participants were immersed in a learning experience designed through the lens of social media. The course was on Evolutionary Leadership for Sustainability and was facilitated by Kathia Laszlo, Ph.D. As a bit of a flanuer, I observed the class for research on its effectiveness and… Read more »

Group Intelligence

Why does the intelligence of a group matter? What is group intelligence? We spend most of our lives engaged with people in a myriad of activities. Our livelihoods depend on our interaction with others.  For most of us living in modern societies, our success and quality of life are completely dependent on the various groups… Read more »

The School, Soul, Language, and Business of Sustainability

On a snowy, bitterly cold Minneapolis afternoon, when my then-preschooler finally fell asleep after hours of stalling and my dog shook off large clusters of ice onto the kitchen floor following his backyard romp, it took some self-control and compassion to not snap at my mother. My compassion came from a place within that reminded… Read more »

Rethinking an Organization Around its Website

This is a story about a website. Like many stories, however, the lessons are not about the obvious. It is a story about how redesigning a website created a structure for reconsidering an organization.    I serve on the executive committee of an international organization (actually, a federation of organizations), and have for the last… Read more »

The Evolving Notion of “City Center”

The notion of city is morphing, including how it is structured and how it functions as a center of commerce. As they have done down through the ages, cities today are continuing to evolve. They are developing new forms of society and methods of commerce by weaving people and digital technology into dynamic systems not… Read more »