The Hammer and The Dance:
The Case for Crushing the Coronavirus with Coercive Bureaucracy

The Hammer and The Dance Metaphors matter, especially in uncertain times, when the only way to frame a complex predicament is to use models from a familiar past. The title of this blog borrows from Tomas Pueyo’s excellent article and the picture that accompanies it is a mashup of one of my ecological images and it. When it comes to the coronavirus, war metaphors abound. British politicians summon the spirit of the Blitz, while Donald Trump describes himself [...]

It’s The Journey, Not the Destination

It’s The Journey, Not the Destination For more than five years now, I have been opening my classes, workshops, and presentations with “The Two Q’s.”  I ask folks “What are the two questions that every human being is trying to answer – consciously or otherwise – every moment we are alive?”  As I tell my audiences, their answers may not be the same as mine, and there is no right or wrong answer. In 1998, on a family [...]

Are Multi-age Classrooms Better for Children?

Are Multiage Classrooms Better for Children? Advocates for multi-age education believe children flourish in environments where youngsters of different ages learn together in settings that feature collaboration, leadership, empathy, and social awareness along with academic achievement.  They think linearity is a fine principle for some types of manufacturing, but not for kids. So why are most U.S. schools organized by grades that restrict classes to children of the same age? Dr. Sandra J. Stone, author, speaker, and former [...]

Age in the Classroom: Keep it Uniform or Mix it UP?

Age in the Classroom: Keep it Uniform or Mix it UP? Multi-age classrooms, often used today in programs for students whose special needs result from disabilities or advancement, began for practical rather than philosophical reasons. Through much of the Nineteenth Century and earlier, one-room school houses served communities across the country.  Youngsters of all ages, abilities and knowledge levels who lived within walking distance of the school came together under the guidance of a teacher who was expected [...]

Living in Complexity: Stories Today and Yesterday

Ideas drive action, attitudes and behavior, and there’s nothing like stories to unfurl ideas and let them flourish. Aesop’s Fables , believed to have been written by a Greek slave sometime around the Sixth Century BCE, has been named one of the world’s most influential books by The New York Public Library and other scholarly sources that offer such opinions.  It’s a collection of stories meant to deliver cautionary tales and moral lessons. The enduring influence of these ancient [...]

Humans, Technology and Complexity: Perks and Perils and Ageless Questions

The crashes of two Boeing 737 Max jets that took the lives of 346 people in less than five months were preceded by a complex series of engineering, economic, corporate and regulatory decisions whose combined interplay contributed to tragic unintended consequences. The fallout from the two disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia is no less complex. Government oversight responsibilities, corporate practices and the impact of intense airline business competition are under scrutiny as the investigations of [...]

Managing in a Complex Environment: Applying Complexity Theory and Outcome Management to Global Problems

From Marc Narkus-Kramer a Plexus Catalyst and Plexus Institute board member.  My interest in Plexus began when I was working at the MITRE Corporation and experienced the power of complexity thinking and practice that Plexus introduced to a project.  I recently retired from MITRE and decided to explore how to build a process for organizational understanding and implementation of an integrated method of using complexity as a guiding principle for outcome management. I recognize how projects and conversations that include [...]