Complexity Pioneering

The generic objective is to search, scout and learn regarding what the added value of thinking, theory and findings belonging to the knowledge domain of complexity can bring to human living systems. Can we shape this up in interventions to be used from the perspective of the improver of the human living system?





Looking through glasses

A two-day work session on complexity for human systems

About 10 people, practitioners in organisations, will involve each other during two days on the subject. In the set up of the session we will use as much as possible the added value of complexity, the aim is to walk the talk. This implies:

  • Using the self-organising principle with distributed leadership and co-creation of the first block of the session.
  • As far as we can speak of a set up, we will use the metaphor of dancing. Within the notion of this metaphor we can play with multiple dimensions, such as: free versus choreographed, simple versus complicated, relaxed versus stressed, level of effort, on intuitive impulse, consciously changing dimensions on the way, fun and pleasure and experimentation, learning by doing
  • Overall transparency regarding process and content to create space for reflection, input and organisation from all participants. Transparency means visual availability and changeability by the participants.
  • An iterative, fractal-like modular approach inspired by The Pearlfarm
  • As we meet with a partial stranger group with a complex objective, a complex subject matter and a complexity process, we encounter the challenge to use time and energy in a beneficial way. This asks for a continuous awareness, attention, care and responsibility from all participants. We invite every participant to do needful interventions in order to sustain a fruitful process.

In due time insights and results of this session will be published on this site.

Block frame

This approach is adapted from The Pearlfarm and could be seen as a process model that provides structure to the process and in the same time enough looseness and space for improvisation and exploration of unknown territory (cf. dancing metaphor).

Three elements repeat fractal like in different levels: engage, dive and grow (e.g. in each of the different blocks, in the whole sequence of blocks and in a larger process that might emerge in the future).

This timeframe is to be considered as an indication and therefore flexible. Quality time is the driver.

  • Block 1 Engage - 6h
    Connecting with the temporary team, the subject matter and the process through an interweaving of these focusses
  • Blocks 2-3-4-5 Dive - 4 x 2h
    Each of these blocks will focus on a subset of the complexity-characteristics in view of the objective of the work session.
  • Block 6 Grow - 2h
    Combining and complementing insights from previous blocks into meaningful wholes, into conclusions and new questions, this about content and process – What’s next? For the whole group and for each participant?



Complexity books

Reference material - Books

  • Yaneer Bar-Yam: Making things work, Solving complex problems in a complex world (2004)
  • Nora Bateson: Small arcs of larger circles, framing through other patterns (2016)
  • Fritjof Capra: The web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems.
  • Eoyang: A practitioner's landscape (2004). According to Stephen read: Glenda Eoyang describes an evolution in the study of human system dynamics since the eighties with a focus on practical applications.
  • James Gleick: Chaos - The amazing science of the unpredictable (1987)
  • Brian Goodwin; Nature’s due; Healing our fragmented culture
  • Brian Goodwin: How the leopard changed its spots: the evolution of complexity
  • Tina A. Grotzer: Learning causality in a complex world, understanding of consequence
  • John H. Holland: complexity, a very short introduction
  • Ilya Prigogine/Isabelle Strengers: Order out of Chaos: Man's new dialogue with nature (1984-2017)
  • Ton Jörg: New Thinking in Complexity for the Social Sciences and Humanities - A Generative, Transdisciplinary Approach (2011)
  • Stuart Kauffman: The origins of order: selforganisation and selection in evolution
  • Stuart Kauffman: At home in the universe: The search for the laws of self –organisation and complexity
  • Lesley Kuhn: Adventures in complexity, For organisations near the edge of chaos (2009)
  • Elizabeth McMillan: Complexity, Management and the dynamics of Change, Challenges for practice (2008)
  • Melanie Mitchell: Complexity, a guided tour (2009)
  • Diane Nijs: Imagineering the Butterfly Effect, Complexity and Collective creativity in Business and Policy - Designing for Organizational Emergence (2014)
  • Elinor Ostrom, Governance of the commons, 1990
  • Ricard Solé: Phase transitions.
  • Steven H. Strogatz; Sync: How order emerges from chaos in the universe, nature and daily life