Heart of the Art

To the Heart of Living Systems


culture change

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?

Embrace Complexity- Don’t Suppress it

By John Atkinson. If we genuinely believe the world to be a complex place, we need to consciously embrace that complexity, not suppress it. Once we do this, we realise we cannot resolve our activity into standardised processes without forever generating unintended consequences to our actions. Recognising the world we live in as a complex environment doesn’t allow us to control it

It’s Time for Quality Leadership in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The way that we have set about delivering this quality has led to an environment where improvements to processes and systems are typically gradual and linear — focusing on reducing waste and variability. Our ability to learn and adapt fast is seriously hampered by this approach. We have not paid enough attention to leveraging the differences we have as human beings — and how we when building on our differences can create much better solutions to our daily work and objectives.

Linear to Complex

Here are some sound pieces of advice: the more you know about a system, the better you are at predicting its behavior. If you want a large outcome, then put a large amount of effort into the process. For the best execution, plan ahead. These are all powerful strategies – but only if you are dealing with a linear system. For a complex system, this approach spells disaster

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.)

Playing with time

From John Atkinson. Cause and effect analysis is quite hard. The connection between our actions and their impact can sometimes be quite obscure. Events will be explained away according to the version of history that is prevalent in the organisation, the stories we always tell. Each organisation has these and they are more than familiar, peopled with heroes who saved us and fools whose decisions nearly wrecked us.

What is a System of Systems and Why Should I Care?

Another challenge in this area is that some systems belong to multiple SoS. In these cases, these systems receive requests from multiple SoS, some of which conflict with each other. It is typically up to the single system to decide which sets of changes to implement, leaving some SoS to pursue other alternatives for their desired SoS capability.

Cass Sunstein on Nudge Theory

In this excerpt from the event, ‘Why Nudge?’, renowned public thinker Cass Sunstein defends his groundbreaking nudge theory.

Changing Identity: The Emergence of Social Groups

An individual is a specific human being with a personal identity that is represented by his desire to be and to become who he wants to be. Social identity is just one aspect of this individual’s personal identity. Having a social identity does not necessarily preclude an individual from choosing another social identity. To do this he must be able to think and to reflect on whether his social and cultural background or his position within society is the most adapted to his personal endeavours.

Self-Organizing Leadership

In my experience, most people in organizations are hard working, intelligent, and well-intentioned. Very few people get up in the morning with the express intent of messing up their organization. So why is it that in some organizations people blossom, while in others they wither?

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.

Creativity & Emergence

The most effective and meaningful changes I’ve observed have come from both embracing creative practices and also establishing new foundations: generative principles of engagement, expanded mind sets, new frameworks, and entering into a “co-creative partnering” type of relationship with each other, and with the unknown. For example, weaving improv-based principles as the rules of engagement in meetings can transform both the energy and outcomes

Twelve Simple Rules of Systems Thinking for Complex Global Issues

We are increasingly aware that many our living systems – human and natural – are at risk today, as we face incredibly complex and interconnected challenges related to global security, environmental degradation, and inter-woven economies. Understanding the nature and dynamics of living systems, therefore, can shed light on how we think about our problems and our resources, and about the assumptions and the choices we make.

Deming’s 14 points

A reminder of J Edwards Deming’s 14 points, the father of process improvement. Interesting, isn’t it, just how often these aren’t followed?

Why the human touch is key to unlocking systems change

Change is hard. Systems change with multi-stakeholder groups in a complex system is very hard. People get stuck in their respective positions and entrenched interests, refusing to be told they are the ones need to change. One simple phenomenon about change – we like to change others, but none of us like to be changed. Just think about the ones closest to us – our spouses, children, parents – how often are we truly successful in changing others?

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