Looking for past Complexity Matters posts?

Complexity Matters posts from 2013 - 2016 are available here.

Liberating Structures: The APP is Here

Plexus Institute has been the incubator for an impressive flow of research and applications centered on addressing “complexity” in organizations and human system. Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz  began working as partners to develop Liberating Structures when they shared a hunch that complexity science had practical applications and could be accessible to everyone.  Keith’s interest in transformational learning and planning methods clicked with Henri’s business acumen as they fielded early prototypes. Over twelve years, their work has grown into a powerful repertoire for people making change.  They have cut across academic disciplines, tapped spiritual practices, roamed the planet, and deepened scientific

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COMPlexus Stories

What’s Your Story? 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. For more than 15 years, the Plexus Institute has been a leading source of learning about, and applying the understanding of complexity to community and business challenges around the world.  But like any living system, Plexus has a lifecycle that has evolved and changed over time. Even as ways of organizing and working from the past may fade, we are working together to

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WHEN I THINK ABOUT LISA….

Lisa Kimball had magical qualities – she would gather and connect a diverse group of people, let each person soar above all expectations and gently guide the group as they co- created something remarkable. Lisa continually shared her gifts with a wide range of professional groups, clients and friends. Stories of Lisa’s talents, generosity and big heart are now being shared across many networks and between colleagues and friends. What we share is more than a remembrance, it is the enduring energy of Lisa’s voice encouraging us to never stop searching for a good collaboration, to see the world through a new

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Lisa Kimball

Elisabeth Kimball, 69 Co-founder and board member of the Plexus Institute, Elisabeth (Lisa) Kimball of Washington, D.C.,died Nov. 3 at home of amyloidosis. Lisa’s beloved husband John Cooney was with her every step of her long journey right to the end. Please join with Plexus Institute as we grieve the passing of our friend and colleague and celebrate the enormous impact Lisa’s life and work had on so very many lives, organizations and communities. As word spread of her death, it became clear how large and mighty Lisa’s “net” is — truly, her impact spans the globe. The stories of

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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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Solve Tough Problems With Adaptive Positive Deviance

A New Book from Plexus  Unexpected Gifts: Solve Tough Problems with Adaptive Positive Deviance Is your community struggling with overwhelming obstacles? Do community members have clashing beliefs, fractious rivalries or cultural incompatibilities?  Is there dissension about deployment of scarce resources?  Does your organization face barriers that threaten its immediate survival and sustainable future in an uncertain world? Adaptive Positive Deviance offers a powerful way to engage the attention and energies of the very people who know the challenges and often possess potential solutions.   APD won’t banish every problem but it’s a great beginning, and this book guides you through the

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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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PlexusCalls – Principles-Focused Evaluation

Principles-Focused Evaluation Guests: Michael Quinn Patton, Sharon Benjamin and Maurya West Meiers This PlexusCall was held on Friday November 3, 2017 View video recording of the event on YouTube. Michael Quinn Patton’s most recent books are Principles-Focused Evaluation (Guilford, 2017), and Evaluation Facilitation (Sage, 2018). He is a multi-disciplinary and internationally known scholar who has written eight books on evaluation. He and experienced organizational consultant Sharon Benjamin will discuss his work on principles-focused evaluation. Michael Quinn Patton is an independent organizational development and evaluation consultant. He is former President of the American Evaluation Association. He received the American Evaluation Association Award for Research on Evaluation in 2017 recognizing the breakthrough

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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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