Heart of the Art

To the Heart of Living Systems

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change

Doing Change

Change will happen anyway, whether we like it or not. It has the potential to make the world anew. But that it’s not the change that makes the difference, but how we explore the possibility in the pain.

The ethics of systems leadership

When you consult to a system who is your client? How do you know if you are doing the right thing? What constitutes doing good here and who decides? You cannot please everyone all the time. There is a difference between a reflexive action, changing the mood of a conversation through a comment or smile just because it feels to be going in an unhelpful way and a deliberate one such as considered reflection on events

Does inspection harm you?

‘What gets measured gets done’ is an old and familiar phrase. If we pay attention to product or patient safety then those measures improve. But over what time frame does this hold true? And is it the measures or the safety that gets better?

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.

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?

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?

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.

Noticing my noticing

Travelling through northernmost Norway I am caught by the nature of scale. The grand and the delicate. The power and the finesse. In my awareness it becomes alive within me.

Disruptive Algorithms for Change

Exploring using’ clever’ algorithms as a way of interacting with and even as mechanisms for distilling change from within. It’s curious perhaps that here we see algorithms used as disruptive technology, with the potential, albeit unintentionally to wreak havoc in the social and moral compasses of our social spaces, because isn’t that exactly what we as change makers seek to do? Isn’t that all that change is?

Xerox PARC – an innovation ecology?

How do you create an innovation ecology? Well that is something Xerox did with great success. This slide deck shows a little of their thought, some tongue in cheek comment and some wonderful insight. Why not take a look through and see what you make of it?

Understanding Identity

Every time we change our business or political structures, we provoke questions about our identity. Who really are we? What matters to us? How must we now connect? Here John Atkinson explores issues of identity and relationships in the light of the U.K. Brexit vote and the US 4th of July celebrations.

The illusion of control

‘Take back control!’ was the slogan for the UK’s leave campaign. A palpable desire to have control over our own affairs throughout the campaigning and the vote to leave the EU. Yet the immediate aftermath of the vote is a brutal and sharp reminder that control is illusory. The harder you grasp for it the more slippery it becomes. Control does not reside in the structures we create or in winning a referendum. (By John Atkinson)

Not my circus, not my monkeys…

A circus is a system of complex, beautiful chaos, but sometimes the chaos becomes messy. It’s easy as someone who cares deeply to want to control the monkeys and control the mess, seeking once more the simplicity of the complex chaos of a perfectly performing circus. (By Emma Loftus.)

Cognitive Dissonance Theory for Inspiring Social Change

The significance of cognitive dissonance needs to be understood to rationalize the theory underlying social change processes. Social change in the context described might be applied within a personal or family relationship, a work organization, or within society in general. And, the theory can be rationalized in its application in terms of scale for example in inciting the conditions for civil revolution and changing political systems of governance, or complex organizational change within multinational corporations.

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