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Complexity Matters posts from 2013 - 2016 are available here.

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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Why Bees Fascinate Us

Bees and humans have been closely associated for a millennia. We have been fascinated by bees ever since our ancient ancestors tasted honey. Scientists have a wealth of knowledge about bees, their behavior and their extraordinary social organization, but mysteries remain. Researchers believe the mapping of the bee genome may hold clues to how inborn and environmental factors interact to influence what genes actually do in the brain to regulate behavior. In December 2004, Gene Robinson, wrote a  compelling New York Times Op-Ed,  that prompt us in 2018 to think about the importance and interdependence of all players in the earth’s

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Dancing with the Bees

It’s not only humans who derive symbolic meaning from dance. Honeybees use dance to tell each other about flowers and nectar and the best places to find them. In an extraordinary ritual known as the “waggle dance”, a scout bee finds a rich flower patch, sips some nectar, and then flies home. She (and it’s always a she) lights on the vertical surface of the honeycomb, near the nest entrance where she will have an audience, and dances a repeated figure eight. The way she waggles her body announces the direction of the food, its distance from the hive, and

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The Adaptive Space Imperative

Adaptive space can be thought of as the relational and emotional freedom for people to freely explore, exchange, and debate ideas. It operates as a sort of free-trade zone for ideas, by tapping into the power of network dynamics, adaptive space creates connections that serve to discover, develop, and diffuse new ideas into and across an organization. How does your organization address the threat of “disruption”? This question has become a mainstay of most strategic conversations, in large part because the conditions for entire industries, social, economic and certainly business systems are being broken apart, thrown into disorder and prevented

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Constraints Free Creativity

Do most innovators and creative thinkers relish the freedom to let their imaginations run wild? Or can their “creativity” flourish with the discipline of constraints? If your immediate answer is constraints limit creativity and innovation, consider how constraints, like simple rules serve the function of supporting creativity in the self-organizing of a complex system. What if we looked beyond the “Theory of Constraints” as simply a tool for finding practical, effective solutions to business problem?  What if  constraints were viewed as necessary structures for emerging new ideas, serving as “railings” that limit endless explorations and overwhelming what-ifs choices, by focusing efforts, energy and

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DRAWN to CONNECT

Plexus launches a high engagement, experiential online learning series called Drawn to Connect with the first four week workshop. DRAWN to CONNECT, will be held online from June 3 – June  29, 2018. Online course opens on June 3rd and continues through June 29, 2018 -the course platform that will provide resources, assignments and continuous opportunities for participation. Live course sessions are held on Tuesdays, June 5, 12, 19, 26 from 12 – 1.30 pm. Weekly live open engagement sessions will be scheduled based on participant feedback. Cost: $350.00 (a special introductory rate) Sign up Now (Registration is limited to 10 participants.) Drawn to Connect

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A Moment of Complexity

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 I have found myself referring to Mark Taylor’s book The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network

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Artists and Systems, a Relationship – #plexusdrawn

Artists. Hearing the word artist conjures a myriad of ideas, assumptions and perspectives about artists. Each of us has our own understanding of what an artist is and does based on our experiences, education and feelings. Part of why people have many perspectives on what artists do, how they do it and ultimately who they are is because artists have the capacity to hold tension (opposing views) since they are taught to see differing perspectives in a non-judgemental way – a skill absent from most other fields. There are many types of artists and many types of art. Imagine bringing

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The Art of “Revealing” Complex Systems – #plexusdrawn

A New Language for Understanding and Working in Complex Systems Emerges As practitioners of complexity visualization and thinking, we simply look at complex environments differently. What we do is make the invisible visual — we help reveal through imagery the unique properties of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS),  the parts, the whole and the greater whole, so our clients can see where they fit into their systems. Plexus Catalysts and Visual Facilitators Barb Siegel and Amanda Lyons are creating a catalog of visual prompts and tools for conversations around applying complexity science to human systems. We draw out what it feels like

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