Leaders in the public and private sectors are facing unprecedented challenges as they operate and make decisions in a context of increasing complexity. Hyper-connectivity calls into question many traditional problem-solving approaches – regarding diverse matters, from urban population growth to global capital flows – and it limits our capacity to manage these problems. At the same time, opportunities for solutions – via which to deliver greater benefits for stakeholders, cutting across traditional silos and offering more sustainability – are growing.
The Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems examines how insights gleaned from complexity science and systems analysis can best be applied to improve the thoroughness and quality of decision-making and to deliver better results for larger numbers of beneficiaries worldwide.
CLIMATE CHANGE is staring us in the face. The science is clear, and the need to reduce planet-warming emissions has grown urgent. So why, collectively, are we doing so little about it?
Yes, there are political and economic barriers, as well as some strong ideological opposition, to going green. But researchers in the burgeoning field of climate psychology have identified another obstacle, one rooted in the very ways our brains work. ...
We have trouble imagining a future drastically different from the present. We block out complex problems that lack simple solutions.
... energy monitors that displayed consumption levels in real-time cut energy use by an average of 7 percent, according to a study in the journal Energy in 2010. Telling heavy energy users how much less power their neighbors consumed prompted them to cut their own use, according to a 2007 study in Psychological Science. And trading on our innate laziness, default settings have also conserved resources: when Rutgers University changed its printers’ settings to double-sided, it saved more than seven million sheets of paper in one semester in 2007.
I am pleased to share a clear set of guidelines for a rigorous design science to build a pathway to global sustainability... (via Joe Brewer)
1) Critically assess all assumptions with the standards of empirically responsible philosophy to ensure that interpretations of value-laden topics stand up to the rigors of the scientific method.
2) Look for convergence across disciplines of key findings that bolster confidence in the core elements of human systems and their causal relationships with the broader natural world.
3) Cultivate an appreciation for deep history as the appropriate lens for embedding historical trends within the larger networks of biological and geophysical evolution from which they arose.
4) Build a foundational knowledge of complex adaptive systems and the mathematics of networks to build diagnostic models for the global dynamics of interconnected systems.
5) Acknowledge the cognitive feedbacks of human comprehension that shape the formation of conceptual categories, tacit beliefs, and overarching worldviews as they interact with the scientific method — especially in the study of economics, politics, and culture.
6) Make use of iterative design methodologies such as rapid prototyping and user-centered design to empirically test and refine working models of social innovation in the real world.
7) Maintain a vigilant practice of questioning our theories of change to avoid falling into the trap of applying static conceptual models to an ever-evolving dynamic reality.
Take 18 minutes of your day to watch this TEDtalk.
"If you haven’t heard about Janine Benyus, it’s about time you have. Janine has been at the forefront of biomimicry for a number of years now. She co-founded the Biomimicry Institute, which has morphed into various projects, including its current form as Biomimcry 3.8, a global network of scientists, thinkers, and consultants working together and learning from nature in order to solve humanity’s biggest challenges.
This TED talk is from Oxford in 2009, in which Janine gives examples of nature’s uncanny ability to perform complex tasks seamlessly and effortlessly. My favorite example, among many, is the Namibian Desert beetle’s evolutionary ability to collect water molecules from fog and turn it into drinking water for sustenance."
In trying to turn a setting where complexity, emergence and non-linearity come alive and work to create conversation, social media property managers are stifling the very thing that makes their tools and platforms so attractive. Creativity is born from serendipity and diverse connections. In imposing structures that remove or highly limit this potential for discovery by adding unnecessary noise, we are a risk of losing some of the best tools for idea testing, discussion, and knowledge translation we have ever known by reducing the opportunities for serendipity.
Leadership should be some kind of a neutral agreement between leaders and followers. Leaders point out directions and followers confirms and communicates the “rightness” – it’s a symbiosis. No specific requirements, just that silent agreement and the communicative feedback-loop. It works for a family as well as in global online processes building social networks. Complex networks in order to remedy social complexity.
A positive spiral
Taking the role as a leader today is really not anything that is clear for anyone. Nobody specific is a leader – everyone is both leaders and followers. In one situation you get inspired by person A, person B in turn gets inspired by person C that gets his/hers inspiration by person A. If the communication infrastructure is in place self-synchronisation will rule.