Thinking about Complexity in organizations, big and small, is how Plexus is addressing real-world challenges — focusing on the understanding, advancement and diffusion of ideas and practices rooted in the principles of complexity.

Accepting the implications of complexity means giving up the comfort of defined outcomes for the groups we work with, even though definitive solutions were never possible in complex adaptive systems. What we do know are as follows:

  • Change is the only constant
  • Our actions and choices really do make a difference in the short and long term
  • Our individual welfare is dependent on the welfare of others in the system and
  • The purpose of answers to our questions is to generate better questions

These are the complex challenges and opportunities that deserve the insights of  Plexus “Thinkers” who are well positioned to engage with the plethora of models, theories, and still emerging thoughts about complexity science and human systems. Making this rich harvest of human thinking, innovation and sense making widely accessible is part of our way-finding journey. An important part of the purpose of Plexus is to hold the history of this journey in stories we are creating.

At pivotal moments throughout history, technological innovation triggers massive social and cultural transformation. Apparently unrelated developments, which had been gradually unfolding for years, suddenly converge to create changes that are as disruptive as they are creative. We are currently living in a moment of extraordinary complexity when systems and structures that have long organized life are changing at an unprecedented rate. Such rapid and pervasive change creates the need to develop new ways of understanding the world and of interpreting our experience. Mark C. Taylor, The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture

“The Commons Project” Moving Toward a Feasibility Study

Over the past several months, Plexus Catalyst Mike Taylor engaged a diverse network of individuals, institutions and groups representing four continents and a variety of professional talents to support further development of our newest project “The Commons.” The next step is to create the strategy for a feasibility study which will seek funding and the launch of a pilot. By engaging large groups of people in a self-organized process, The Commons platform will allow participants to see the direct impact of individual and collective choices on local and global health ecosystems/environments by leveraging digital interaction and open engagement. The Commons Projecthas reached out to professionals from the social, environmental,

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Parrots Think Like….

Scientists keep discovering important traits in animals that were once considered exclusively human.  So when you hear references to bird brains, think about how our behavioral connection to parrots offers insights into addressing large scale social and environmental issues. A New York Times story by Natalie Angier reports researchers who study parrots report these birds rival great apes and dolphins in intellect and resourcefulness, and may be the only creatures, other than humans, capable of dancing to a beat.  Parrots  belong to the avian order Psittaciformes, which has 360 species including  parakeets, macaws and cockatoos. Dr. Irene Pepperberg, the  Harvard animal

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Conversations to Reduce the Discord in Our Country: Better Angels

This article was written by Plexus Network member Nancy Dixon, whose work focuses on the people side of knowledge management. “Our most effective knowledge sharing tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge, as well as sharing that knowledge with each other.” Like many others, I have been sorely troubled by the level of disrespect in our public conversations. For that reason, I’ve become associated with an organization that is trying to do something about it, Better Angels. I feel positive about

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For the Good of the Hive

“The health of a honey bee is based on the health of the hive, not the individual bee. Collective action is necessary for growth and expansion. Humans are the same way, although we rarely act like it. Many of the issues we face today are not divided by borders. In fact, bee health or pollination issues are more likely to be solved by transcending them.” Matthew Willey When Melissa Stephenson, a Plexus Catalyst  shared information about the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative, a community wide project she is leading with artist Kin Schilling, it seemed like the perfect topic for

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