John Atkinson, co-curator of the Heart of the Art
blog, shares tales of corporate change management from a complex systems lens — equal parts valor, strategy and happy accident. John is a designer, architect and catalyst for whole system change. He has instigated and led projects around the world in corporate and public settings that help people design approaches to will make fundamental change to their work and lives.
Watch the interview, or read the full transcript below.
design4emergence: John, tell us more about your history with complex systems and how you apply your knowledge of the science to your work.
John Atkinson: I was thrown out of college and joined the army. That was quite a traditional form of leadership, the military. I ended up running the artillery’s leadership wing up in North Wales, and there I started to explore all sorts of different ways of understanding how you got stuff done.
I found that much more interesting than being a soldier, so I waved goodbye, handed the Queen my commission, and set out running someone else’s company. At that time I was using the outdoors to model business processes.
Some people use the outdoors to develop leadership — in terms of hanging people off ropes or doing tasks. I... Read more