Heart of the Art

To the Heart of Living Systems

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What’s New?

The Philosophy of Freedom

The philosopher Steiner asked us to consider what is freedom. Steiner considered fundamentally that freedom is about relationship, about how we know what we know. In considering the world as a living system of living systems, in ‘systems thinking’ in our organisations we instigate the philosophy of freedom in its most basic and purest sense. Is it that as Steiner believed of children, that in doing this we allow them to grow and reach their best potential, unhindered by predetermined restraints and controls?

Are you good enough to lead?

Are you good enough to lead? Is there a problem in your organisation? Are you a senior person in that organisation? Have you been there any length of time? If the answers are yes then there you are part of the problem.

The Queen!

what happens when your organisation is so evidently getting it wrong that people are suffering, that their work is becoming meaningless? What do you do then? Can you continue to ask for this loyalty? Should you?

Wood Burning Fractals

Here, we see that despite or inspite of man’s arrogance, creativity, interference, nature will at the end of the day be present, hidden or explicit in everything we do or do not do.

Smart Bees, like us

We could learn a lot from the Bee. Here they show us their amazing cognitive ability and their ability to communicate the essence of change.

and so I swim

Swimming to me has become many things. It’s an escape, a reason, a passion, an obsession, a fury. And on days like today swimming gives me space and quiet amidst the noise and chaos of my life. An opportunity to feel nothing but myself, my being.

John Atkinson on Complexity in Systems

Here, in the video and transcript) below, John Atkinson in conversation with Stacey Hale at Design4Emergence, discusses Complexity in Systems. Answering questions such as: Any advice on keeping work in a complex ecosystem within manageable boundaries? True or false: “There are no best practices.” How do you put people at ease in a world obsessed with big data? You’re not saying to abandon strategy? Are you talking about designing an attractor? What do you say to a brand new consultant who wants to apply the Big Five of living systems to an organizational problem to create change? How much does it matter that people know that you’re pulling from the principles of biological systems to design organizational change?

Size does matter

In the video that we link here, MIT Professor Cesar Hidalgo adds another perspective and some numbers. In his studies of network theory he has explored whether markets are meritocratic or topocratic. Put another way, do you succeed because of your talent or because of who you know?

Emma- About me

It’s always an interesting question to wonder who am I? I could give you a list of adjectives, that while true enough, tell you little about me.

Controlling the waves

We as human beings have a need for control. It’s in our biology and it’s part of our survival. Over millennia of human existence we have developed a plethora of techniques, skills and practices that allow us in subtle and brutal ways to control our environment and ourselves. Yet in seeking to control we loose so much. In assuaging our fears, living the same rules, the same ways, we don’t experience the dance that is our potential.

What is systems leadership?

The challenges that require you to work together are complex. You don’t ‘deliver’ a change in global quality standards and you don’t ‘deliver’ a healthier or wealthier population. Lots of people will need to change what they do if you are to succeed. Some are already way ahead of you. You will need to connect all this up, nurture some stuff and weed out things that aren’t helping. You will need to help people see how what they’re doing contributes towards something meaningful. You will have to constantly improve people’s experiences. Does that sound like deliver?

Myron Roger’s 2016 NHS Leadership Academy

The Phillips Kay Partnership is Myron Rogers, John Atkinson and Jeni Bremner, home of Myron’s Maxims. Change from a living systems perspective. Here you can watch a series of videos from Myron’s NHS leadership academy, discussing some of the key features of change in living systems.

What’s going on? Do you really know?

Self that is the beginning of stories in our systems. How self feels and how that’s responded to is the heart, and the art of building the core of how a system operates, succeeds or indeed fails.

Watts: The world is a marvellous system of wiggles

When we think of our world all too often we think of it, ourselves, and our systems as an ordered thing. We make these maps, in our minds and in the minds of our organisations as places made up of ordered linear, perhaps even hierarchical constructs of straight lines and hard edges. An image we try to understand, but that in no real way reflects the nature of reality.

For reality is far different, it’s dynamic, it shifts, and it’s not straight at all. Much is invisible, and what we see is simply a glimpse of a surface of what may be true. Nature is astounding both in its complexity and in its simplicity. It is one.

Those boundaries we draw or even perhaps feel are in fact just constructs of our mechanical minds in a world craving order from chaos. But what if, Watts asks, those boundaries don’t even exist at all?

‘Reality is a marvellous system of wiggles’. And trying to straighten them out to fit into our need for order simply creates a false map that is no reality at all. (Introduced by Emma Loftus)

Discovering my system

I used to think of my body as nothing more than a machine. A series of components that function in predictable and purely mechanical ways to get a job done. To hold me, nourish me and keep me alive. I was floundering around in a body that felt old, with a mind devoid of spark. And then something clicked. ‘What if’? I thought ‘Everything is connected’? It was with a wild leap of faith and not without some imagination that I began developing a picture of myself as a whole physical being. A machine that pulses. But here’s the thing, you and the world we are all in is a system too. And should we treat our world as a mechanistic thing, made up of a series of separate components?
This way of thinking is convenient. It gives us quick fix possibilities; address the faulty component, treat the symptoms and move on. But what if, just like me, everything in this world is connected in minutely, infinitely, unfathomable, impossible ways? All of them beautiful. (By Emma Loftus)

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