systems science Category

Diversity / Complexity in Focus

  As cities and regions worldwide celebrate Pride the role of diversity, understanding and unity has been brought to mind just as it has contemplating the British public’s choice to leave the EU with Brexit. Both events offer lessons in dealing with complexity and why diversity isn’t about either/or, but more both and neither and […]

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(Re) Making our World

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is a nod to the future and the past and both perspectives illustrate how citizens everywhere are struggling with how to best make their world – and to what extent that’s possible. These are design choices with systems implications that will be felt far beyond those who are […]

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The more we get together

As we forge ever-greater connections online to each other and the world of ideas the thinking was that we would be far better off, more tolerant, educated and wise and yet there is much evidence to suggest this isn’t the case. What does it mean to come together and how can we do this that […]

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Authentic baloney and other sincere problems

What does it mean to be authentic in an age of design and complex social systems? It’s not as simple as you think and, as two high-profile psychologists point out, not something that’s easily agreed upon, either.  Over the past week, two high-profile psychologists and authors Adam Grant and Brene Brown have been engaged in a […]

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Confusing change-making with actual change

Change-making is the process of transformation and not to be confused with the transformed outcome that results from such a process. We confuse the two at our peril. “We are changing the world” is a rallying cry from many individuals and organizations working in social innovation and entrepreneurship which is both a truth and untruth at the […]

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Decoding the change genome

Would we invest in something if we had little hard data to suggest what we could expect to gain from that investment? This is often the case with social programs, yet its a domain that has resisted the kind of data-driven approaches to investment that we’ve seen in other sectors and one theory is that we […]

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Collective action, impact, intelligence & stupidity

Collective impact is based largely on the concept that we can do more together than apart, which holds true under the assumption that we can coordinate, organize and execute as a unit. This assumption doesn’t always hold true and the implications for getting it wrong require serious attention.  Anyone interested in social change knows that […]

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Mental health: talking and listening

Innovation might be doing things different to produce value, but there’s little value if we as a society are not able to embrace change because we’re hiding from mental illness either as individuals, organizations or communities. Without wellbeing and the space to acknowledge when we don’t have it any new product, idea or opportunity will […]

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Systems thinking and collective impact

When we seek change the temptation is looking for ‘the key’ component of a problem or situation that, if changed, is expected to lead to profound transformation. Too frequently these type of solutions fail not because the change to the component is poor, but that the thinking is not aligned to the system that contributes […]

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Systems thinking and the simple plan

  Planning is something that is done all the time, but the shape in which these plans unfold is often complex in hidden ways. Without the same resources to evaluate those plans (and make different ones should they change) many organizations are left with great expectations that don’t match the reality of what they do (and can […]

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