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Actions and the Language of Change

Actions speak the language of change by making it visible. Talking about change shapes our actions, so let’s talk carefully. Change, real change of substance, is considerably difficult to orchestrate. Even in the presence of threats, opportunities, internal drive, and lack of alternate options, change is difficult to encourage, stimulate, motivate, and sustain in individuals, …

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Culture and heritage: Social systems in four dimensions

International sporting events like the World Cup and the Olympics provide intriguing examples of the complexity and situated-nature of culture and heritage as people from all walks of life reveal, (re) create, adopt and adapt to some form of unique and shared identity, even if temporarily. This situated-ness is what illustrates one of the most substantial …

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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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The rise of the digital epidemiologist: Using big data to track outbreaks and disasters

We are seeing a major change in the way diseases are discovered, tracked and addressed. Matthew Braga from the Financial Post has been looking at this nascent field of digital epidemiology and reports on its leading edge. I was interviewed for this and spoke about how social media is playing a role in this new …

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Systems Innovation | Geoff Mulgan and Charlie Leadbeater | January 2013 | Nesta

A terrific synopsis of a recent paper authored by social innovation leaders Charlie Leadbeater and Geoff Mulgan from NESTA in the UK as told by David Ing. There are many systems thinking takes on social innovation that get both the innovation wrong and the systems thinking, but this isn’t one of them. Leadbeater and Mulgan …

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Google’s “20% time,” which brought you Gmail and AdSense, is now as good as dead

Interesting to see that one of the most innovative companies that is responsible for so many of the most powerful technological/communication innovations ever is getting so focused on doing things with what it has and forgetting how it got there. Perhaps this new approach will work better and it challenges the idea that 20% time …

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Scaling Education: The Absurd Case of the MOOC

The MOOC offers enormous potential to re-shape the way people learn and promoting access to content and expertise that many in this world could have only dreamed of years ago. But the naivete that such learning can be done in an monocultural way without losing something special about the context in which people learn and use what they learn might lead to some expensive lessons.

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