Author Archives: Jennifer

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

Are We Facing a Crisis of Connectivity?

NECSI's Yaneer Bar-Yam on globalization and why we need a "social brain"
  Understanding how collective behavior works can help us make better decisions, keep the peace and innovate. Could network science hold the keys to designing for emergence…and avoiding extinction? There is a general assumption, even if it’s unspoken, that everyone should get along. That diverse perspectives lead to innovation. That we should have melting pot societies and decentralized organizations and global systems where everyone cooperates. As hyperconnectivity becomes more of a reality everywhere, do we really understand its implications? If you have any part in designing human networks, complexity science tells us, you should consider carefully how you design the boundaries of your networks to encourage or suppress connectivity, encourage independence, and even solve conflict. In this interview with New England Complex Systems Institute’s president, Yaneer Bar-Yam, we explore common network behaviors and how they affect the systems of our brains, our organizations and our nations in ways that scientists are learning to model.