Systems Thinking and Complexity 101

How to Save the World

T here are four main purposes for learning about complexity and systems thinking: To appreciate how organic (complex) systems (bodies, organizations, cultures, ecosystems) really work. Why don’t the existing IT systems have a mechanism to capture knowledge?

2014 45

Reflections from 2011 – A World Without Email – The Documentary


A World Without Email – The Progress Report. into an incredibly powerful social messaging and notification system of content that’s stored elsewhere, i.e. social networking, collaborative and knowledge sharing tools eventually. And keep living those worlds without email!!

Email 119

Trending Sources

The Many Sources of Transformation and Large Systems Change Knowledge

Networking Action

This is a webinar recording drawing from work with a World Bank project to create a framework for describing large systems change knowledge. I draw from streams of practice and study arising from four historic focii: (1) business and sustainable … Net Dev

2014 42

Barriers to Knowledge Sharing: The Biggest One Isn't Systems

Michael Sampson - Currents

Welcome to world of "knowledge hiding," where workers become evasive, play dumb or call a report confidential — even if it isn't — whenever they are asked for information from a colleague.

The Power of Networks in a Complex (Business) World


Apparently, it’s been documented and confirmed how 90% of our bodies are made of bacteria, just like pretty much any other creature in this world.

2013 132

A World Without Email – Year 3, Weeks 29 to 51 (The Email Starvation Continues…)


the way they take advantage and benefit from their email systems and to some extent those hints and tips , and great insights , help alleviate some of the issues email currently has as a powerful collaboration and knowledge sharing tool. Long live “ A World Without Email “!

Email 87

A Complex Predicament: How Our Energy, Economic and Ecological Systems are Connected (repost)

How to Save the World

In a broader sense, the Jevons Paradox is a way of explaining a puzzling behaviour of many complex systems. In addition, there are Jevons Paradoxes inherent in complex systems, that lead to undesired results that have nothing to do with deliberate human behaviour at all.

World 14

How “Membranes” Build Great Organizations

Alchemy of Change

It draws deeply on lessons from biology and the amazing ways that the cell uses its organizational boundary to remain autonomous, yet deeply interconnected with its surrounding environment – an apt metaphor for the highly networked world of the modern organization.

2011 142

Systems Thinking Is Awesome and a Trap Series: Quote #2Remember Your Failure In The Cave

Evolving Web

Systems Thinking is Awesome Here Because Most Often We Are Battling Ourselves When we use systems thinking, we are actively asking ourselves “Why is this working as it does?” If we are good systems thinkers, we open ourselves to all possibilities and expect to be surprised.

2011 39

Living “A World Without Email” … in Google Plus


There is now a flow, a tracking record, an opportunity to share publicly or privately without having that worry whether the system will mess up or not, or whether unwanted parties would have access to those private exchanges or not.

2011 90

All you ever wanted to know about Agricultural Innovation Systems

Net-Map Toolbox

Agricultural Innovation by connecting farmers to the world. This is why Net-Map is a natural fit for people who want to understand, monitor and support the development of viable agricultural innovation systems. copyright by IICD on flickr, SEND Westafrica Program [link].

Peru 21

Beyond Institutions – Personal Learning in a Networked World

Jenny Connected

In this presentation I look at the needs and demands of people seeking learning with the models and designs offered by traditional institutions, and in the spirit of reclaiming learning describe a new network-based system of education with the learner managing his or her education. This was Stephen Downes’ second talk in a series of 3, which he is giving in London this week. This is how he introduced it on his blog Stephen’s Web .

2014 54

Access to a world of practice

Learning Alliances

How communities of practice give us access to observing, orienting, deciding, and acting in a world of practice. And the world changes as communities evolve. Communities of practice give us access to a practitioner’s view of which way is up and what’s up in the world.

2011 55

Illuminating the Invisible: Mapping Austin’s Adolescent Health System Using Value Network Analysis

Partnering Resources

“ Illuminating the Invisible: Mapping Austin’s Adolescent Health System Using Value Network Analysis ” provides a case study of how we used a specific technique to paint a holistic picture of how the system works from service provider and youth perspectives.

Book Review: "Networked: The New Social Operating System" – Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman

Governance in a Networked World

One of the claims made that did catch my attention is that the authors believe that the networked world has matured to the extent that groups and communities are no longer a prime focus. Even if it was not perhaps new to me it will interest those wanting to understand how networking is changing the world of work. Holiday breaks are a good time to catch up on your reading and I had put this one aside for just that.

2015 22

Systems Thinking is Awesome and a Trap Quote Series: Quote 4-Well, Clarise, have the lambs stopped screaming?

Evolving Web

We love a good story Systems Theory is Awesome Because it Gives Us Great Stories In The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lechter controlled conversations by using the power of story and insight. Systems thinkers can easily get caught on the wrong side of the plausible / probable divide.

2011 34

Diversity is hard

Jenny Connected

According to Downes, the only way to avoid information cascades is to ensure multiple viewpoints and alternative perspectives from observers with different sets of prior experiences, world views and interpretations. Understanding complex systems. Source of image.

Intervening in a complex system: 5 Ps

Chris Corrigan

Everything from awareness raising “cultural competency training” to zero tolerance accountability measures have limited effect because a) discriminatory behaviour is highly context and situation dependant and b) the public service has a permeable boundary to the outside world, meaning ideas, behaviours and people move between the two contexts all the time. The larger your organization, the more like the real world you have to be.

How People Define Smart Organizations: The Biology of Great Organizations Part II

Alchemy of Change

In my last post, I wrote about how the membrane of the cell provides a new perspective on the way organizations connect with the world around them. Spokespeople are just a more visible example of people who connect their organizations with the outside world.

2011 143

Trust and Networks

Alchemy of Change

When trust is low and relationships are plagued by suspicion, networks collapse into brittle organizational structures that rarely offset their operational costs in real world outcomes. Democracy & Social Change Engagement, Relationships & Connection Networks & Systems

2011 155

A World With No One In Control

How to Save the World

Like Charles Barsotti’s cartoon above says, in complex systems nobody knows anything. This is perhaps one of the reasons we humans loathe complexity, and try to oversimplify everything so that we can presume and pretend to understand it and control our world.

2013 14

Why We Cannot Save the World

How to Save the World

H ardly a day passes when I don’t hear a cry for us all to work together to do X, because if we do that, everything will change and the world will be saved (or at least be rid of some horrific and intractable problem and hence made immeasurably better). We cannot save the world.

2012 26

A world full of knowmads in 2020?

Joitske Hulsebosch

A system as Holacracy works in some cases but not everywhere. John Moravec was the first to coin the term knowmad in the book Knowmad society. In this Tedtalk John poses an interesting statement about the 'rise of the knowmad'. " In 2020 45% of the workforce will be knowmads ". Eh 2020?

Life Without eMail – 5th Year Progress Report – The Community, The Movement


Indeed, instead of focusing on the whole world, which may have been a bit too ambitious and perhaps over demanding on everyone as in too large to cover, I am switching gears and instead adopt a new mantra towards it: Life Without eMail. . The (corporate) world is not going to do it.

2013 132

HR Magazine - Exclusive: Google research heralds arrival of the human systems director

John Tropea - Delicious Collaboration

Exclusive: Google research heralds arrival of the human systems director. But research unveiled yesterday by Google heralds a new player in HR: the human systems director. The HR director and IT director will have to come together," believes Carsten Sørensen, senior lecturer in information systems and innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Raising VAT to 20% could cost 20,000 jobs and the benefits system 1.3 Features. HR TV. Blogs.

2020 18

System of Systems


Welcome to *the* System of Systems ! That’s right, the latest film from the Smarter Planet initiative from IBM is titled “ System of Systems &# and lasts for a little bit over 4 minutes.

Listing of Mary Abraham’s KM World 2012 Notes

Portals and KM

She attended the 2012 KM World conference and produced a very impressive and useful series of session notes.  Flow Systems and KM #KMWorld. My friend, Mary Abraham, writes the great blog, Above and Beyond KM.   I am listing them below for my reference and to share with you. Enjoy. John Seely Brown: The Entrepreneurial Learner#KMWorld. Lt Col David Sanchez Keynote:Aligning Corporate Information Governance and Content#KMWorld. Are Intranets Social? KMWorld #KMW12.

2012 25

Why Systems Thinking is Awesome and a Trap: Quote 5-Nancy: They wouldnt send us any money! They said wed spend it on DRUGS! Sid: We would!

Evolving Web

That was a simple system. A system that allowed the provision of a best practice. But, the system that Sid and Nancy were caught up in involved drug addiction, bad decisions, the music industry, hypocrisy, betrayal, tribal behavior, paranoia, and branding.

“Save the World” Reading List: 2013 Update

How to Save the World

I have deleted many of the works listed in my previous (2008) “Save the World Reading List” and added some explanation of the key learnings from each reading in this shorter list. I suddenly knew it was not my job (despite the name of my blog) to save the world.

In Connection We Trust

Alchemy of Change

We are moving into a world of software networks ; vast meshes of autonomous websites and applications that are increasingly dependent upon one another in order to do their jobs. Fellowship Innovation & Technology Networks & Systems

The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing

Alchemy of Change

For now though, think of the mesh as the infrastructure for the intelligent membrane the firm uses to connect with the world around it. Access over ownership is the marvel of our library system.

2011 63

The Buddy System: How Medical Data Revealed Secret to Health and Happiness

John Tropea - Delicious Social Network

Med-Tech : Health The Buddy System: How Medical Data Revealed Secret to Health and Happiness By Jonah Lehrer 09.12.09 Wired Home Subscribe Sections Cars 2.0

Dealing with your slaves and seeing the world

Chris Corrigan

In a complex and interconnected world it is hard to be an activist against things. ” Will we ever have a world where slavery is abolished? And it would be nice to know that any intervention we choose will have the system changing effect that we want, but we can’t have that certainty. How does a complexity-based world view and skill set enable good work to happen?

The Problem With Systems

How to Save the World

illustrative system diagram from my post on Systems Theory. T he fundamental problem with systems is the illusion that they actually exist. A system is a concept — the mind’s patterning to conclude that a bunch of things or phenomena are in some way connected or related.

Has Social Media Killed Off Privacy?

Laurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy

I’ve finally figured out how to use my iPhone as a GPS Navigation system. I’ve thrown out the old system, and not before time. This week, Tom Tom, the makers of navigation systems, apologised for collecting speeding data and selling it to the Police, who then laid speed traps.

You don't need to be a system dynamicist.

Making Sense With Facilitated Systems

I liked computer simulation more than he did, but I saw simulation as a way to get additional insights, not as a replacement for working in the real world, so we might not have disagreed too much on that point. If you're familiar with feedback theory, recognize that feedback applies to human and organizational systems, too, as Bob did. PS: Here is another article Bob wrote on feedback control systems. decision making feedback system dynamicsto understand feedback.

Making Social CRM “Friend Discovery” Real

Alchemy of Change

The first problem is that exposing this information violates the first principle of Friend Discovery , since those other customers probably don’t want that information out there for all the world to see.

Facebook Credit: Zuckerberg next Treasurer of the Internet App2User

Laurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy

Called Facebook “Credit&# it includes a real world component named, rather fetchingly, “App2User&# , which aims to encourage merchants and loyalty programs like Qantas Frequent Flyer points and Flybuys and whatnot to use the Facebook points social media system.

F-Suites for C-Suites: 4 Futures Thinking Toolkits To Help C-Suite Leaders Thrive in a World of Change « emergent by design

John Tropea - Delicious Faciliatation

F-Suites for C-Suites: 4 Futures Thinking Toolkits To Help C-Suite Leaders Thrive in a World of Change. It’s running a real-time simulation of the world 24/7, creating stories, scenarios, predictions of what could happen next and how a situation might play out. Local Food Systems.

2012 36

Exploring future possibilities by mapping “dispositionalities”

Chris Corrigan

Today he’s discussing “ dispositionality ” which simply means that making change in a system is much easier when you have a sense of what the system is pre-disposed to do (and what it is NOT pre-disposed to do…). Map the current state of the system, including its dominant flows, eddy points and whirlpools. We began with a World Cafe design based on small stories of change.

2016 24