Category Archives: Complexity Matters

Complexity in Healthcare: Will you know it when you see it?

The rise in awareness of the principles of complexity continues to be both a boon and a problem for many scientific disciplines, resulting in intense discussions about how best to integrate this method of scientific discovery with established practices. The major divisions in the development and application of “complexity informed” models and tools have been between the legitimacy of mathematics versus conceptual models both for discovery and proof. This divergence of approaches in clearly evident in the field of healthcare; mathematics is firmly holding sway on the side of disease and infirmity with a predominantly conceptual approach on the organizational

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Complexity Matters: A Re-Introduction to Complexity

“Scientific knowledge, originally seen to make possible the prediction and manipulation of nature, appears now to be pointing us toward a new relationship with the natural world based on sensitive observation and participation, rather than control.” Brian Goodwin   During 2018, Plexus Institute’s Thursday Complexity Matters posts will continue to offer stories, new thinking, research and practices related to complexity in action. And, we will also be sharing fundamentals of “complexity” by reviewing the language, distinctions and metaphors that define complexity. What does it mean? How do we talk about it? How can we see and understand it? Where does science

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Complexity Science Reframes Healthcare For Women and Everyone Else!

In an early PlexusCall (September, 2003) guests Birute Regine, Eileen Hoffman and Justina Trott held a wide ranging conversation that explored how the distinctions in the “nature” of women aligned with the theory and insights of complexity science to human systems. “The system becomes more complex when you bring your whole self into it. For women who need to have their stories told and understood, that changes the whole dynamic of the profession of medicine, and the dynamic of the human relationship in any personal experience.´  Justina Trott The Back Story The story of how the transcript of the PlexusCall,

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Where Will Your Story Lead Plexus?

Gathering and sharing stories is a human behavior both ancient and universal.  Our stories express our understanding even of the most complex situations; reflect our core values; and articulate our intentions for future action. Story telling is also one of the most enduring tools available to every person and every organization regardless of specific social, economic or cultural contexts. In the HBR article, The Irrestible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool, author Harrison Monarth understands that “stories” add measurable value when integrated into wide ranging initiatives including research, employee and customer engagement programs, change management strategies and marketing. “Strategic

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Entrepreneurial Chef Plans Food Desert Transformation

Frederic Byarm earned a culinary degree and trained in France, became an acclaimed chef, and owned four restaurants. He earned lean and Six Sigma Black Belt Certifications in manufacturing, and he has worked at an Arizona non-profit designed to serve homeless and impoverished individuals and families. Returning to Camden, where he grew up, Byarm plans to open a farm and market place that will provide fresh food and new jobs in his hometown. Byarm’s Invincible City Farms took first place in the Camden Catalyst entrepreneurial pitch competition, which drew more than 100 applicants who commit to keep their start-up businesses in Camden for at

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Plexus Institute is Self-Organizing

Plexus Institute was founded as a network for learning and engagement focused on practical implications and applications of complexity theory in real-life events. Through open conferences, research collaborations, projects and a diverse and active community, Plexus encouraged adopting a complexity lens for addressing organizational and institutional opportunities and challenges.Change is guaranteed and we are setting the conditions for the future with Plexus 2.0, a self-organizing network to connect, engage, practice and  support people shaping learning and projects rooted in complexity theory. Join us for Zoom sessions on October 17th and 20th, 2017 at 1:00 pm ET, where we will provide a brief overview and open

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Rx for Opioid Addiction: More Social Trust

Opioid overdoses have become the leading cause of death of Americans under age 50, and researchers say social isolation, economic distress, and fraying human ties can increase the physical and emotional pain that drives opioid abuse. A recent study published in The Journal of Health Economics reported that for every one percent increase in unemployment, the opioid overdose death rate in the U.S. rose by nearly four percent.  Researchers from Harvard University and Baylor College of Medicine found that U.S. counties with the lowest social capital have the highest opioid death rates. Social capital involves the degree to which people have networks of confidants, trusting connections to

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Leadership and ‘Self Directed Neuroplasticity’

 Understanding the workings of our own brains and practicing habits of thought that neuroscientists call self directed neuroplasticity can improve decision-making and over time contribute to greater capacity for leadership. “The Neuroscience of Strategic Leadership”  an article in Strategy + Business, describes research showing dynamic interactions between activity in the mind and the differing regions of the brain. The authors, Jeffrey Schwartz, a research psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Josie Thomson , a leadership coach, and Art Kleiner, editor and chief of the magazine, drawing on history, science and knowledge of business, say understanding the dynamic can lead to more effective thinking and action.  

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Athletes, Scholars, Gut Microbes Have Their Own Circadian Rhythms

  Circadian Timing: Vital to Us and the Microbes Living in Us Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour cycles of physiological processes that take place in all living things, including fungi, cyanobacteria, plants, insects, animals and humans. These rhythms are important in the sleeping and eating patterns of all creatures, and in humans their influence ranges from moods, metabolism and obesity to health and illness, mental acuity and the performance of sports teams. Scientists at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego, analyzed 40 years of NFL of games between East Coast and West Coast teams, and found that

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What Do We Learn From Catastrophes?  

The social, physical and economic anguish that Hurricane Harvey visited upon flood-devastated Houston is reminding officials and residents in cities across the country of the need to plan for unexpected catastrophes. People rarely think ahead about the possible 500-year flood or likelihood of the tsunami or earthquake that kills thousands of people and leaves thousands more homeless. Scientists say such events have low probability and high consequence. And unless there is a recent memory, people don’t pay too much attention to risks that seem remote. But in Houston, more than 70 people have died, and the damage to homes, businesses, and roads will be

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