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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 [...]

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 [...]

2017-10-17T13:28:56-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

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 [...]

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 [...]

2017-11-20T20:22:38-05:00PlexusCalls, Video Archive|

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, [...]

2017-10-12T20:35:01-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

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 [...]

2017-09-12T19:13:38-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

Networks of the Brain

An illustration of two important features of hierarchical brain networks: modules and hubs. Adapted from Zamora-López et al. (2010). Updating the Map In 2009, the Human Connectome Project (HCP) was launched to  to build a "network map" (connectome) for the healthy human brain. The purpose of the connectome is to decipher the amazingly complex wiring diagram to reveal what makes us uniquely human and what makes every person different from all others. Dr. Olaf Sporns from Indiana University at Bloomington, [...]

2017-09-06T18:33:35-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

A Healing Fix From the Eclipse?

Geography, psychology and history suggest the total solar eclipse August 21, in addition to offering rare fascination for astronomers and sky watchers, could also provide opportunity for national healing in a time of partisan discord, science writer David Baron says. Baron, who is an eclipse fanatic himself, wrote the book "American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race To Catch The Shadow Of The Moon And Win The Glory Of The World."It's a fascinating story of the total eclipse of 1878, a year when the U.S. [...]

2017-08-17T19:15:14-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

Improvisation: The Most Complex Human Ability?

What goes on in the brains of jazz musicians at work? "When Melody Takes a Detour, the Science Begins," a New York Times story by Pam Belluck, captures the thoughts of musicians and scholars who are looking at the importance of music in human development, cognition and communication. One of the ways music touches us, apparently, is by its tonal and rhythmic patterns. We like familiar and predictable patterns, but we also like a certain amount of surprise. Brain imaging studies [...]

Values, Culture and Learning Climate Science  

If students come from families who are deeply skeptical about climate change, how can a teacher provide instruction on climate science while simultaneously acknowledging their values? The Idaho State Legislature in February voted to eliminate reference to climate sciencefrom the state's new science curriculum. Surveys show fewer than half the adults in Kootenai County, where Coeur D'Alene's Lake City High School is located, think that humans contribute to global warming. A Washington Post story by Sarah Kaplandescribes how one Lake City science [...]

2017-09-13T19:11:18-04:00Complexity Matters Posts|

Biology & Education Out of Sync for Teens

'Their Body Clocks are in Some Time Zone West of Us' When children enter puberty, their circadian rhythms change, which means early school start times maybe turning many of them into sleep-deprived zombies prone to moodiness and sub-par academic performance. As long schools start when kids need to be asleep, says sleep researcher Mary Carskadon, teenagers on average may be consigned to “social jet lag” in which the timing of life is not the timing of their bodies. Carskadon is [...]

It’s Only Weird the first Time: How Curiosity and Courage Expand Possibility!

During the week, Dr. Michelle Carnes is a public health anthropologist in American Indian and LGBTQ youth suicide prevention, cultural preservation and restoration.  On weekends, she eats fire. And escapes rope ties. And swallows swords. Michelle Carnes' evolution to professional sideshow stuntress is rooted in her own resolve to conquer fear. At first, it's hard to get past the fear, she said. "When the fire is coming at your face, a part of you says this is a bad idea. [...]

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