Category Archives: Complexity

Beware The Long Tail

“Many economists will tell you that the chances of something really big and bad happening are really, really small,” Stanley says. But when viewed through a different lens, he contends, catastrophic events — such as Lehman filing for bankruptcy in … Continue reading

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Occupy Wall Street, Swarm Behavior & Self-Organized Criticality

If you’ve been watching the Occupy Wall Street protests these last few weeks, you may be surprised by how quickly it spread from a small group of disgruntled youth in New York to a planetary mobilization that is now active … Continue reading

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Two Case Studies in the Diffusion of Scientific Information via the Internet

This report concerns a pilot study of patterns of access to scientific documents made available on the internet, in particular, the World-Wide Web. Its goal is to suggest that the behavior of internet users can be subject to scientific analysis, … Continue reading

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Understanding Phase Transitions for Social Change

The great challenges of the 21st Century are systemic in nature.  From ecological decline to cybersecurity in a digital age, the patterns of change we must grapple with are profoundly complex.  Change agents will need to understand how change unfolds … Continue reading

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Want to Change the World? Study Deep History

Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  We’ve all heard this adage and many among us take to heart the wisdom of looking backward as a vital practice for understanding the future. We must understand how … Continue reading

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Organizing for diversity and complexity

Read How do you maintain the integrity of the organization while embracing the chaos beyond? Part of the answer is in supporting communities of practice as a bridge between external networks and those doing the work.  

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Using a Complexity Approach to Lead Sustainability

Read Read also: An empirical study of sustainability leaders who hold post-conventional consciousness I just spent the last week working with a group of sustainability leaders and change agents at an excellent seminar put on by Experience Integral. One of … Continue reading

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An empirical study of sustainability leaders who hold post-conventional consciousness

Read Purpose: Document how leaders and change agents with a highly-developed meaning-making system design and engage in sustainability initiatives. Findings: These leaders appear to: (1) Design from a deep inner foundation, including grounding their work in transpersonal meaning; (2) Access … Continue reading

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Embracing Complexity

Read In his job as chief investment strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management, Michael J. Mauboussin has developed a healthy appreciation for complexity. Along the way—through his reports, books, teaching at Columbia Business School, and frequent conference appearances—he has become … Continue reading

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Complexity Approach to Change and Transformation

Social innovation is an initiative, product or process or program that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system. Successful social innovations have durability and broad impact. Achieving durability and scale is a dynamic process that requires both emergence of opportunity and deliberate agency, and a connection between the two. Frances Westley will discuss how disruptive social innovations can address seemingly intractable social problems such as environmental degradation, poverty, and mental health and how the capacity of a society to create a steady flow of social innovations, can contribute to its overall social and ecological resilience.

Speaker Profile

Frances Westley joined University of Waterloo in 2007 as the J.W. McConnell Chair in Social Innovation. In this role she will head up a Canada wide initiative, Social Innovation Generation, a cross sectoral partnership to build capacity for social innovation in Canada. Dr. Westley is a renowned scholar and consultant in the areas of social innovation, strategies for sustainable development, middle management and strategic change, visionary leadership and inter-organizational collaboration. Her most recent book, Getting to Maybe focuses the dynamics of social innovation, and institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems. A previous book, Experiments in Consilience, focuses on the dynamics of inter-organizational and interdisciplinary collaboration in the management of ecological and conservation Continue reading

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