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

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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