A Complex View of New Year’s Resolutions

By paying attention — being mindful — of what you’re doing and how it is working, you can start to build a longer-term strategy or pattern of activity that moves you along to where you want to go. It also prevents you from the let down at having not achieved your goals, but setting yourself up for success rather than failure. These kinds of strategies address the complexity of human lives and provide a useful replacement for New Year’s Resolutions.

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New Year’s Resolutions: If You Must…

New Year’s resolutions are problems because they often set us up for failure. Perhaps the one resolution that you will want to follow this year is to skip the resolution altogether and commit to doing something small often and enjoying yourself and those around you while you do it.

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Embracing Complexity / Science

Complex systems require the kind of deep attention that science brings, the spirit of engagement and problem solving that designers offer, and a space to bring them together. With their focus on reductionist science and the lack of embrace of design, universities haven’t been the home to this kind of thinking. But things can change because, after all, this is a complex dynamic system we’re talking about.

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Design & Behavioural Science: It’s Time

Many academics are so far removed from the real world that we’ve left little reason for the public to WANT to engage us. But the downside is that we’ve taken many of the methods and tools that we’ve honed over centuries and do produce some good data and synthesis with us. Designers need us to help them step up their game as much as we need designers to help behavioural scientists step up theirs.

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Spectrum Thinking and Complex Systems

Systems thinking requires spectrum thinking. People must be able to see things on a gradient, rather than in absolute compartments. Students can’t be faulted too much for having a hard time with this when they are graded based on letters where a B+ is a 79 and an A- is one percentage point higher, yet the mere presence of a B (anything) on a transcript can mean the difference between an award, admission, or a job and not.

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