Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

The Mindful Socially Innovative Organization

by • October 16th, 2012

In complex systems there is a lot to pay attention to. Mindfulness and contemplative inquiry built into the organization can be a way to deal with complexity and help detect the weak signals that will make it thrive and be resilient in the face of challenges. Most human-centred social ventures spend much of their time […]

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The Ideology of Scaling Social Innovations

by • August 24th, 2012

Box scaling

Without best evidence (which is almost always lacking in social innovation by its very nature), setting performance targets related to scale a priori is foolish. For innovators themselves, equally foolish is not gathering the kind of information about the systems they are operating in to know if they are the human or the ant and whether a shower is on the way.

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How Serious Are We About Learning?

by • July 26th, 2012

When journalist and book author Daniel Pink tweeted the above image the other day it provoked thinking about what real learning means and what it takes to achieve it. We produce enormous amounts of knowledge, yet struggle to put it into use, but we also teach much and learn little because the systems we’ve designed […]

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Empathy: The Ultimate Design + Systems Challenge

by • July 1st, 2012

Empathy

Empathy is a central feature of good human-centred design, yet is often practiced narrowly. Visualization with systems thinking and mindfulness are three additional features that can transform empathy from a simple tool to a vehicle for transformation by connecting us less to absolute problems and more to relative ones. In today’s Globe and Mail newspaper […]

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The Forward Orientation Problem With Complexity

by • June 26th, 2012

These approaches combine inward reflection — reflective practice — with an openness to the data that comes in around them without imposing an order on it a priori. The orientation is to the data and the lessons that come from it rather than its directionality or imposing values on what the data might mean at the start. It means slowing down, contemplating things, and acting on reflection not reacting based on protocol. This is a fundamental shift for many of our activities, but may be the most necessary thing we can focus on if we are to have any hope of understanding, dealing with, and adapting to complexity.
All the methods and tools at our disposal will not help if we cannot change our mindset and orientation — even in the temporary — to this reality when looking at complexity in our work.

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Drive out fear

by • May 28th, 2012

Reblogged from quantum shifting: Business leaders: when I use the word “culture”, do you screw up your face and say “Love and peace, man”?  I’m no aging hippie; in any case, I was born 10 years too late to be part of that movement.  Business culture is no wiffly-waffly discretionary add-on.  It’s central to effectiveness […]

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Have We Turned the Page on Social Science Research for Health?

by • May 15th, 2012

What will our health landscape look like without the ability to take what we know and translate it into action? Worse yet, what if we simply are unable to even know what to do because the research and evidence isn’t there in the first place to translate into anything? Without another turn towards something more positive, we are about to find out.

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Common Sense, Complexity and Leadership

by • January 23rd, 2012

By recognizing that common sense is less than common and is certainly not consistent, program designers, developers, evaluators and other professionals will be better positioned to provide true leadership that addresses challenges and complexity rather than adds to the complexity and creates more problems.

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Advice for a Scholar Seeking a Life in Academia

by • December 18th, 2011

The need to train professionals, educate citizens and advance knowledge of our world has never been less, yet the academic environment where this takes place is changing at a pace where its easy to question what one is to do to contribute to its mission. In this continuing series on life in academia, I offer […]

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How Systems and Design Thinking Can Address Violence Against Women

by • December 6th, 2011

Today, as we remember the lives lost and damaged from the events of December 6th and the global challenge that this represents, consider taking up the challenge and perhaps together we can systems think and design our way to a healthier, more equitable world for men and women alike.

Imagine how we can create a system that makes the unthinkable truly so. As designers, envision what we could do if we engaged people in the design challenge to reimagine our sex and gender roles in a healthier image.

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