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From Complexity to Wisdom
Mobilizing Knowledge Through Complex Systems
Curated by Erika Harrison
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Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World

Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
A look at how social entrepreneurs spread innovation throughout the world.

 

Currently, social entrepreneurship is as much a field as it is a social movement. A whole new generation of ethical change agents—whether in business or academia or the media—is building a new sensibility about the way we live and interact. For many people, ‘‘social entrepreneurship is now a viable and desirable career path, where work is not just something that you do, but rather something that you are.’’

 

All of Ashoka’s Fellows (the people Ashoka deems to be leading social entrepreneurs and elect into a lifelong Fellowship of like-minded people) ripple their innovations through society by influencing other social entrepreneurs, the policy development process, and the actions of the private sector. As I came to know the Fellows I interviewed for this book, I found that they all, at a minimum, possessed four inherent qualities:

 

Purpose
Passion
Pattern
Participation

 

These characteristics have become my favorite manner of determining if the person is starting out with the defining characteristics of what constitutes a social entrepreneur.

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Developing better change leaders - McKinsey Quarterly - Organization - Change Management

Developing better change leaders - McKinsey Quarterly - Organization - Change Management | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
Putting leadership development at the heart of a major operations-improvement effort paid big dividends for a global industrial company. A McKinsey Quarterly Organization article.

 

"Too often, however, senior executives overlook the “softer” skills their leaders will need to disseminate changes throughout the organization and make them stick. These skills include the ability to keep managers and workers inspired when they feel overwhelmed, to promote collaboration across organizational boundaries, or to help managers embrace change programs through dialogue, not dictation".

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Hamlet and the Power of Beliefs to Shape Reality | Literally Psyched, Scientific American Blog Network

Hamlet and the Power of Beliefs to Shape Reality | Literally Psyched, Scientific American Blog Network | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

"From the data, it seems that a growth mindset, whereby you believe that intelligence can improve, lends itself to a more adaptive response to mistakes – not just behaviorally, but also neurally: the more someone believes in improvement, the larger the amplitude of a brain signal that reflects a conscious allocation of attention to mistakes. And the larger that neural signal, the better subsequent performance. That mediation suggests that individuals with an incremental theory of intelligence may actually have better self-monitoring and control systems on a very basic neural level: their brains are better at monitoring their own, self-generated errors and at adjusting their behavior accordingly. It’s a story of improved on-line error awareness—of noticing mistakes as they happen, and correcting for them immediately…."


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Ethan Zuckerman | Cute Cats and The Arab Spring | CBC Ideas: The Vancouver Human Rights Lecture

Ethan Zuckerman | Cute Cats and The Arab Spring | CBC Ideas: The Vancouver Human Rights Lecture | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

In the 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture, Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, looks at the "cute cat" theory of internet activism, and how it helps explain the Arab Spring. He discusses how activists around the world are turning to social media tools which are extremely powerful, easy to use and difficult for governments to censor. The Vancouver Human Rights Lecture is co-sponsored by the UBC Continuing Studies, the Laurier Institution, and Yahoo.

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Nilofer Merchant: Stop Talking About Social and Do It | Yes & Know

Nilofer Merchant: Stop Talking About Social and Do It | Yes & Know | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

“Leadership” has changed when a decentralized group of people can take down a government. “The Value Chain” has changed when the customer is no longer just the “buyer” but also a co-creator. “Human Resources” have changed when most of the people who create value for your organization are neither hired nor paid by you. “Competition” has changed when individuals can create value through a centralized network of resources: for example, designing a product from anywhere, producing it through a 3D factory, financing it through community and distribution from anywhere to anywhere.

 

Yet our business models have not changed to keep pace with these shifts.

 

This five-part series has shared case studies and examples of how the social era affects all areas of the business model: how we create, deliver, and capture value. (See part one, part two, part three, and part four.)

 

Nilofer Merchant is a corporate director (NASDAQ: EPAX), TEDx / Keynote speaker, and an inspiring Harvard Business Review columnist.

 

Read her work and you'll see she's also a bit of a rebel-rouser, wanting to ignite fearless cultures, everywhere.

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The True Hive Mind – How Honeybee Colonies Think

The True Hive Mind – How Honeybee Colonies Think | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

"This extends to decision-making, which is the main subject of Honeybee Democracy. The bees exercise a collective intelligence that mimics not just small-group decision-making but the cognitive deliberations of our own brains:"


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Writing an e-book: Occupy This! | rabble.ca

Writing an e-book: Occupy This! | rabble.ca | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

"Feminist and social activist Judy Rebick brings decades of experience to her account of the Occupy movement in cities across North America. Linking Occupy to social movements of the past and exploring the courage and creativity of a new generation, Rebick argues that the Occupy movement and its counterparts around the globe represent a rise of people power at least as important as the 1960s.

 

Inspired by the Arab Spring, informed by the Indignados (the "Indignant Ones" who protested austerity cuts in Europe and Latin America) and responding to a call from the Canadian magazine Adbusters to occupy Wall Street, a group of young people set up a camp near the Stock Exchange in New York City on September 17, 2011. They called out to the 99 percent to occupy Wall Street, which they saw as the root of much of the injustice and inequality in the world.

 

Marvelling at how quickly the Occupiers gained support and impressed by their organizing ability and commitment to non-hierarchical democratic processes, Rebick says the encampments provide the sense of community that neo-liberal capitalism-- with its emphasis on the individual instead of the collective good -- has destroyed. Occupiers aren't so much rebelling, she maintains, as creating an alternative to the dominant cultural, economic, and social systems - in other words, a cultural revolution. Filled with eye-opening anecdotes and thoughtful interviews with activists around the globe, Occupy This! is an inspiring look at a new wave of change."

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The Nonprofit Quarterly | The Inclusive Nonprofit Boardroom: Leveraging the Transformative Potential of Diversity

The Nonprofit Quarterly | The Inclusive Nonprofit Boardroom: Leveraging the Transformative Potential of Diversity | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
Diversity on boards has to be good, right? So how is it that study after study suggests the opposite? A closer look at boards today reveals that exactly how we diversify makes all the difference.
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Informal coalitions: Reframing leadership – Seven would-be shifts in how we think and talk about leadership practice

Here, I want to challenge these established conceptions of what's actually going on in organizations - and what that means in terms of the ways in which we think and talk about leadership practice. I've therefore set out below seven possible shifts in the ways that we conventionally make sense of leadership in organizations. And, as suggested in Informal Coalitions, if the conversations change so will the outcomes that emerge.

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Carol Cone: The Changing Face of Purpose In 2012 | Best Financial News

In 2012, as Purpose continues its pervasive growth throughout the most recognizable and admirable brands and corporations worldwide, we will discuss how these programs come to life. As we view these strategies through an ever-changing global context, let’s take a look at a few of the trends and cultural cues that will shape how companies determine, embed and execute Purpose in the New Year.

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Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
Scientists have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.
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roxanachapela's comment, January 10, 2012 7:19 PM
Awesome! already shared it...
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Collaborative Communication: Why Methods Matter

Collaborative Communication: Why Methods Matter | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
Teamwork depends on good communication. Choosing the best method improves your team's chance of success.
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Why service design is the next big thing in cultural innovation

Why service design is the next big thing in cultural innovation | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
The lead producer of festivalslab Rohan Gunatillake gives four reasons why new thinking and tools can produce better experiences...
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Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation: Are They Potentially in Conflict? - Nonprofit Quarterly

Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation: Are They Potentially in Conflict? - Nonprofit Quarterly | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

More on the Supernova vs. Red Dwarf discussion

 

When implemented wisely, social innovation is a positive approach to nonprofit growth; but most current practice falling under that rubric tends to invest primarily in one organization or program.

 

"NPQ has run a number of articles over the past year that push back at the idea that the best method for advancing social innovation is to invest heavily in one organization in order to “scale up” its work. Specifically, we question whether that model of “closed innovation” is the best one for advancing more effective responses to social issues, and suggest that it might even be antithetical to advancing innovativeness in the sector. Perhaps ensuring that the aggregation of distributed knowledge and ideas into a curated “marketplace of genius,” as one business entrepreneur termed it, would make more sense".

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Mobilize This! --What is Knowledge Mobilisation and Why Does it Matter to Universities?

Mobilize This! --What is Knowledge Mobilisation and Why Does it Matter to Universities? | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

"The social sciences and humanities (SSH) matter. They matter because they help us understand and address “wicked problems” such as poverty, housing, immigration, climate change, security, Aboriginal issues and social determinants of health – to name a few. We can address wicked problems, but we have a tough time eradicating them. In 2008, John Camillus wrote in the Harvard Business Review that wicked problems: “occur in a social context; the greater the disagreement among stakeholders, the more wicked the problem. It’s the social complexity of wicked problems as much as their technical difficulties that make them tough to manage.” Wicked problems are social problems. Wicked problems are problems of the social sciences".

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Making Bold Moves | 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers | Inc.

Making Bold Moves | 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers | Inc. | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
You're the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here's how to become the strategic leader your company needs.
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James Fowler: Power of Networks | PopTech! Popcasts

James Fowler: Power of Networks | PopTech! Popcasts | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

Can your social network make you fat? Affect your mood? Political scientist James H. Fowler reveals the dynamics of social networks, the invisible webs that connect each of us to the other. With Nicholas A Christakis, Fowler recently coauthored, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives..

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Social Entrepreneurs Must Stop Throwing Starfish | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Social Entrepreneurs Must Stop Throwing Starfish | Stanford Social Innovation Review | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
Too often we engage in linear, simplistic solutions, when lasting change requires collaborative efforts.

 

 

"Starfish throwing, like charity, isn’t a bad thing, but it is not a solution. When we confuse charity and justice, we perpetuate injustice. True world change requires more of its leaders. We must have the courage to work within our complex systems to change the rules".

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E. O. Wilson's Theory of Everything

E. O. Wilson's Theory of Everything | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

“Within groups, the selfish are more likely to succeed,” Wilson told me in a telephone conversation. “But in competition between groups, groups of altruists are more likely to succeed. In addition, it is clear that groups of humans proselytize other groups and accept them as allies, and that that tendency is much favored by group selection.” Taking in newcomers and forming alliances had become a fundamental human trait, he added, because “it is a good way to win.”

 

Kin-selection theory would explain nepotism, but not the more complex rivalries and alliances that we see throughout human history. If Wilson is right, the human impulse toward racism and tribalism could come to be seen as a reflection of our genetic nature as much as anything else—but so could the human capacity for altruism, and for coalition- and alliance-building. These latter possibilities may help explain Wilson’s abiding optimism—about the environment and many other matters. If these traits are indeed deeply written into our genetic codes, we might hope that we can find ways to emphasize and reinforce them, to build problem-solving coalitions that can endure, and to identify with progressively larger and more-inclusive groups over time.


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Make Culture Change, Not War | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Make Culture Change, Not War | Stanford Social Innovation Review | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
The fight for rights needs the fight for culture change.

 

Ultimately, we must impact both policy and culture to create lasting social change.

 

The question of policy and culture change is not a zero-sum game, but rather a both/and proposition. The externalities of the political process (legislative, administrative, and initiative) combined with the “horserace” focus of media on issues, drives attention and resources to the immediate rights-based policy fights. Too often, investment in cultural change and work to shift the normative expectations of our communities are left to some halcyon or mythic future time. We must make that time now and as social entrepreneurs ask ourselves at every turn, how are we both fighting for rights and transforming culture?

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From Scarcity to Abundance | Charity Village Blog

From Scarcity to Abundance | Charity Village Blog | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

The need to embrace diversity and make it an organizational reality beyond a diversity policy or a youth engagement strategy is enormous. As Amy Mapara from the Canadian Red Cross said: "I look forward to a time when diversity policies and youth engagement strategies aren't needed because they are an implicit, integrated part of what we do. We need to have a holistic approach to social inclusion."

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How Research can Support Occupy Movement Strategizing

How Research can Support Occupy Movement Strategizing | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
According to a Pew Research Center poll released January 11, two-thirds of Americans now believe there are “very strong” or “strong” class conflicts in their country—a marked increase from 2009.
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Principles For Social Innovation In 2012: Follow Emerging Economies

Principles For Social Innovation In 2012: Follow Emerging Economies | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it
The world economy is rapidly reorienting toward a growing middle class in the global East and South. And social innovators should follow, helping to aggregate consumer and citizen power to create change.
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John Hunter on the World Peace Game | TEDTalks

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

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Network Thinking « Interaction Institute for Social Change Blog

Network Thinking « Interaction Institute for Social Change Blog | From Complexity to Wisdom | Scoop.it

Last week, I had the opportunity to work with a cross-sectoral group of emerging and established leaders from around southern Maine through the Institute for Civic Leadership, an initiative IISC had a hand in establishing some 18 years ago. For the past six years I’ve offered three days of collaborative capacity building entitled “Facilitative Leadership and Teams” to each successive cohort, and it’s been interesting to see how the offering has evolved over time. Throughout there has been an interest in looking at how to leverage what is now an incredible base of 500 + individuals who have been through this leadership program. And so this year we dived formally into network building strategies.

 

My challenge was to tie together what we have traditionally offered as collaborative skill building with networked ways of thinking and doing. To this end, I invited people to consider the differences between networked and more traditional organization-centric ways of getting things done. I then summarized with the following list of elements of network thinking:

 

Adaptability instead of control – Thinking in networks means leading with an interest in adaptability over time. Given contextual complexity, it is impossible for any actor or “leader” to know exactly what must be done to address a particular issue, much less keep what should be a more decentralized and self-organizing group, moving in lockstep. Pushing response-ability out to the edges is what helps networks survive and thrive.

Emergence instead of predictability – As with any complex living system, when a group of people comes together, we cannot always know what it is they will create. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Vying for the predictable means short-changing ourselves of new possibilities, one of the great promises of networks.

 

Resilience and redundancy instead rock stardom – You see it on sports teams all the time. When the star player goes down, so goes the team. Resilient networks are built upon redundancy of function and a richness of interconnections, so that if one node goes away, the network can adjust and continue its work.

 

Contributions before credentials – You’ve probably heard the story about the janitor who anonymously submitted his idea for a new shoe design during a company-wide contest, and won. “Expertise” and seniority can serve as a bottle neck and buzz kill in many organizations, where ego gets in the way of excellence. If we are looking for new and better thinking, it should not matter from whence it comes. This is part of the value of crowdsourcing.

 

Diversity and divergence – New thinking comes from the meeting of different fields, experience, and perspectives. Preaching to the choir gets us the same old (and tired) hymn. Furthermore, innovation is not a result of dictating or choosing from what is, but expanding options, moving from convergent (and what often passes for strategic) thinking to design thinking.

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