Archived Episodes


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system science

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Episode 045 Human Networks Inspire Holiday Cheer

In this episode, Angie and Haley share clips from past interviews about the power of human networks. They also reminisce about what they have learned in 2016 and share their excitement about upcoming guests and topics to come in the new year. Happy Holidays from the HumanCurrent Complexity Podcast!


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“I do not think our biggest social challenge is know-how; it’s not even money. It’s connecting the right people with the right ideas in the right way.” - Paul Shoemaker

“The cure lies with the relationships with the very people we typically blame for the problems we are trying to solve.” - Peter Senge

“In a complex adaptive system there is no separate “other”. Everything and everyone is connected and together we co-create the whole system.” - Peter Senge

 

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Episode 044 Making Sense Of Human Systems, An Interview With Professor Dave Snowden

In this episode, Angie interviews Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive EdgeDave Snowden. Professor Snowden describes his work with complexity and how it applies to decision-making. He also introduces us to “anthro-complexity”, which is a term he has coined to represent a whole new approach to human systems based on natural science. Professor Snowden says “human systems are fundamentally organic entities”, so they should be studied as entirely different forms of complex systems.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Human systems are complex ecologies rather than complicated machines, for the last 3 or 4 decades we have been using a mechanical metaphor for what is fundamentally an organic entity.” - Dave Snowden

“Complex Adaptive Systems don’t have causality; they have dispositionality. You can say that the system is disposed to behave in this way but you can’t predict that it will. Most human systems work in that fashion.” - Dave Snowden

“There are huge additional levels of complexity when you deal with human systems, so what we are doing is to combine complex adaptive systems theory with cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to create a new theory of what systems are about.”  - Dave Snowden

“Art comes before human language in evolution, so humans constantly work at a high level of abstraction and in evolutionary terms this has massive advantage.” - Dave Snowden

“Ritual aligns identity with roles so that forms of behavior are possible.” - Dave Snowden

“If you create boundaries human beings when they cross a boundary know they can behave differently.” - Dave Snowden

“We need real-time feedback systems, which are descriptive not evaluative.” - Dave Snowden

“SenseMaker allows human metadata to be created using high abstraction principles.” - Dave Snowden

“Measure in the present by safe to fail parallel experimentation you don’t manage to future states. Manage in the present.” - Dave Snowden  

 

Resources from this episode:

A Leader's Framework for Decision-Making

Multi-Ontology Sense Making

 

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Episode 040 The Myth Of The Dysfunctional System

In this episode, Angie and Haley ask past guests—Benjamin Taylor, Angela Montgomery, Oleg Konovalov, and Sonja Blignaut—to share their thoughts on a quote by Jeff Lawrence. His quote states, “There is no such thing as a dysfunctional organization, because every organization is perfectly aligned to achieve the results it gets.”


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“You have to appreciate why something [a system] is the way it is and how it’s’ learning to do that. And, you have to value what it’s creating and achieving.” - Benjamin Taylor

“If you’re looking at a system and you know what’s wrong, take a deep breath, wait, and see what happens next; see what you learn before you act and I think you might go a lot further.” - Benjamin Taylor

“We can say that an organization is dysfunctional when it works in a way that is not consistent with the goal it is supposed to pursue, so lack of clarity and understanding of the goal could easily produce dysfunctional organizational behavior which means behavior that is not consistent with that goal.” - Angela Montgomery

“What could be perceived as dysfunctional toward a stated goal can actual be extremely functional for a non verbalized one.” - Angela Montgomery

“Many organizations tend to lose their sharply defined goals or directions by rushing into something irrelevant, so wrongly set goals are making them dysfunctional. As a result, they are losing their core functions and abilities. I call this ‘goal perplexity’.” - Oleg Konovalov
 

“[This quote] perfectly describes how stuck we are in a mechanistic metaphor. We describe a system or a culture as being broken or needing fixing, as if it’s a machine.” - Sonja Blignaut

“We tend to think about self organization as just a positive thing, so we talk about self organizing teams in the agile space, for example. Complex systems or human systems are always self organizing, they may just not be organized in a way that we think is the way that it should be. This is something that we see as dysfunction, but it is something that is serving part of that system.” - Sonja Blignaut

 

Resources from this episode:

"Dysfunctional Organization: Definition and Cure" by Angela Montgomery

“Techniques to Match Our Values” by Marvin Weisbord

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Episode 038 A Philosophical Look At Company Culture

In this episode, Haley interviews Benjamin Taylor, a business evolutionary, systems thinker, and avid learner. Benjamin discusses the intended and unintended consequences of systemic leadership, and he describes the philosophical side of company culture, as well as, how leaders can influence company culture.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Most of my work is really helping people to do transformation or ‘serious change’ in public services.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Most people in this world should be trying to work themselves out of a job.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Once you’ve really explained system thinking, it starts to sound like common sense.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Meaning only ever emerges in context.” - Benjamin Taylor

“You cannot understand a system until you try to change it.” - Kurt Lewin

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.” - Millard Fuller

 

Resources from this episode:

Benjamin Taylor is a Managing Partner at RedQuadrant, Chief Executive at The Public Service Transformation Academy, and a non-executive Director at SCiO. Benjamin is a frequent contributor on model.report, an online forum for system thinkers. He is also a moderator on the Linkedin group System Thinking Network and co-host for the Outliers Inn Podcast.

 

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Episode 037 The Complexity Of Living Organizations

In this episode, Haley interviews Dr. Oleg Konovalov, who is the author of a new management concept called Organisational Anatomy, which views organisational processes and functions from a biological perspective. Dr. Oleg shares some key concepts from his new book, along with several metaphoric examples to help unpack complexity and make it more digestible.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Complexity is a pack of simple things; don’t make it unsolvable, don’t make it a mess” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Professionalism is reflected in simple language.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Organizational culture is a catalyzer of performance...if negative, culture can be an inhibitor.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

"Complexity is always multi-dimensional, it is not flat.”  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Things should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” - Albert Einstein

 

Resources from this episode:

Organizational Anatomy by Oleg Konovalov

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Episode 036 Harnessing System Potential

In this episode Angie interviews author, entrepreneur, and systemic thinking advocate, Angela Montgomery PhD. Angela discusses the importance of leadership education and systemic thinking within organizations, and she shares some key insights and tools for managing business complexity.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Systemic thinking is how we save the world, because the problems we are facing today are unprecedented." - Angela Montgomery

“Today we need a much more sophisticated type of organization that gives space for humans to be humans inside a human system.” - Angela Montgomery

"When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home.” - Betty Bender

 

Resources from this episode:

Angela Montgomery is the founder of Intelligent Management, which is an organization that guides CEOs & decision makers on systemic principles & methods to manage complexity. She is also the author of the business novel, The Human Constraint which is available for download. Her novel was inspired by the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Eliyahu Goldratt. In her interview, she references the The Goal , a popular business novel by Eliyahu Goldratt.

One of her new projects is called Social Nation, which is “A Social Network that will enable us to grow together”. This exciting new online platform focuses on identity verification, privacy, and security.

In her interview, Angela also describes the “Core Conflict Cloud” which is a tool that provides a structure way for people to take a close look at their fears and desires.

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Episode 035 Using System Science to Improve Community Health

In this episode, Haley interviews Dr. Daniel Taber, a scientist who specializes in food policy and systems research. In his interview, Dr. Taber uses real-world language and examples to explain the complex relationship between system science, science communication, policy change, and public health.   


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“A key part of policy research is understanding how people and organizations adapt. And, of course, that’s a key part of complex systems research – understanding how people adapt to a “shock” in their environment.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“A lot of science – particularly health science, where I work – is built to reflect an artificial world that’s very simple and unrealistic.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“Complex systems research is more focused on what we observe in the real world and trying to understand the dynamics that take place, rather than creating this artificial world.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“I think the key is understanding the systems that we live in, understanding those systems’ goals, and strategically thinking about how we can utilize them better.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

 

Resources from this episode:

System Science & Obesity - Coursera taught by Dr. Dan Taber in collaboration with John Hopkins University

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Episode 025 System Theories, Racism & Human Relationships

In this episode, Haley interviews TK Coleman to discuss how humans allow their conflicting mental models to influence the way they handle controversial topics like racism. TK also shares how understanding context and patterns within human systems ultimately empowers us to actively contribute to human progress.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“The perception of a problem is a problem.” - TK Coleman

"Your identity is larger than your behavior." - TK Coleman

“If human beings were only capable of treating problems that everyone was effected by, nothing productive would ever get done.” - TK Coleman

“[Politics and the left/right dichotomy] cause us to miss out on the essence of what people are saying.” - TK Coleman

“Politics has dominated the discussion on race.” - TK Coleman

“We are not human doings, we are human beings.” -  Neil Anderson, Victory Over the Darkness

“Reality is objective, but meaning is contextual.” - Barbara Hanson, General Systems Theory: Beginning with Wholes

“We have made enormous progress in teaching everyone that racism is bad. Where we seem to have dropped the ball… is in teaching people what racism actually IS.” - Jon Stewart

 

Resources from this episode: 

You can find TK Coleman on TwitterFacebook, and Medium

General Systems Theory by Ludwig Von Bertalanffy

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Episode 024 Discover Your Intercultural Intelligence

In this episode, Angie interviews motivational speaker, author, and leadership coach, Gloria Burgess, to discuss patterns and systems within human history. Gloria explains that because we are truly interconnected systems, how we relate to ourselves and each other matters. We all have the ability to gain “intercultural intelligence” in order to move through the world and systems differently.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"When you allow racial disparity and institutional inequity to affect one part of the country, eventually it's coming back to get everyone." - Tim Wise

"Light comes in at the edges and end of a pattern, so a new pattern can begin" - Gloria Burgess

"The institution of racism, is something we built with power and privilege..if we built it we can unbuild it." - Gloria Burgess

"When we are overwhelmed and confused... we reach for the old maps, the routine responses, what worked in the past...But to navigate life today, we definitely need new maps... The maps we need are in us, but not in only one of us. If we read the currents and signs together, we'll find our way through.” - Margaret Wheatley

 

Resources from this episode:

The Human Library Project

9 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Smile More

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Episode 023 Throwback to 2015

In this episode, Angie and Haley reflect upon the Human Current’s journey of curiosity, learning, and exploration in 2015. They listen to a few clips and highlights from some past guests including: Michele Battle-Fisher, Jason DykstraIsaac Morehouse, and Bonnie Caver. The complexity team compiled this episode to further explore and validate the theory that a complexity or systems thinking lens can be used in all aspects of life.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"We started this podcast as a passion project based on our mentor, Douglas Drane's idea of getting the concept of complexity and systems thinking out to the world." - Angie Cross

"We have interviewed some great minds from fields of study like Healthcare Policy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Finance, Economics, and Emergency Planning." - Angie Cross and Haley Campbell

“Whether we look at team dynamics, the evolution of strategies, or the behavior of markets–the pattern of local interactions, emergence, and feedback is apparent.” -Martin Reeves, Simon Levin, and Daichi Ueda

 

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Episode 021 Cultivating Social Resilience

In this episode, we interview sociologist and fellow podcaster Josh Morgan. He is the host of “The Plural of You”, a podcast inspired by stories of human good. We discuss how complex social problems influence our human networks and relationships. And, Josh helps us identify different ways in which ordinary people can influence systems-level issues, like social trust.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"A society grows great when its people plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in." - Ancient Greek Proverb


"What makes humanity so interesting is that our complexities can't be explained with one theory because we're so highly adaptive." - Josh Morgan


"I feel my purpose as a researcher is to answer questions about complex social problems and report on them as simply as I can." - Josh Morgan

 

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Episode 018 Preparing for Complexity in Emergency Management

In this episode, Stacy speaks with Thomas Appleyard who is the Manager of Planning and Programs with Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. He discusses how complexity theory can be used to plan for crisis and emergency situations by giving real world examples. 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"A self-organizing system is coordinated, but doesn't have a coordinator." - Thomas Appleyard

"Planning in emergency management is all about connections and relationship building" - Thomas Appleyard

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Episode 017 Emergent Ecosystems

Angie & Stacy introduce more of the HumanCurrent team and explore stories of emergence in everyday social ecosystems. 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"A company is really defined by it’s people & the current of information that runs between them" - Stacy Hale

 

Resources from this episode:

From Lifecycle to Ecocycle: Renewal via Destruction and Encouraging Diversity for Sustainability

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Episode 015 Why Complexity? A Thursday Throwback Reflection

What is complexity? And what does it have to do with work? In this quarterly reflection, Angie and Stacy have a casual conversation to look back at what they've learned and discovered


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“The only useful model is the one you can draw on the back of a napkin from memory” - Dave Snowden

"We can introduce loose frameworks and processes that enable people to be more adaptive" - Stacy Hale

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Episode 014 Wellness is Contagious

Angie & Stacy ask: Where does wellness live? Is it in our minds, our health systems, or is it a complex system of shared responsibilities? In this episode we explore how the spread of information affects our health. How do you know when you've created a culture--and whose responsibility is it to create change? 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“There are no side effects, just effects.” - John Sterman

“Like an epidemic, our wellness could also be contagious.” - Angela Cross

“We as individuals do have agency when we begin to see the systems we are a part of and broaden our mental models” - Stacy Hale

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Episode 013 Michele Battle-Fisher: Public Health as a Complex System

Public health policy scholar Michele Battle-Fisher reveals how systems thinking can bring new light to how disease, wellness and the effects of policy change spread through populations. From food deserts to "policy puffins", we learn some new things about the very real impact of chaos in healthcare, why time scales matter in measuring system impact, and why we need systems thinking education for tomorrow's policy-makers. 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"To be that lone voice is difficult for systems thinkers" - Michele Battle-Fisher

"I strongly believe that the innovation we need will come from bringing complexity and systems thinking into the discussion" - Michele Battle-Fisher

Michele Battle-Fisher is on Twitter & Linkedin

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Episode 012 System Thinkers Share Their Stories

Ever had trouble coming up with a single "right" answer? You're not alone. "Though we may be across the world, we breathe the same air," says public health policy scholar Michele Battle-Fisher. In this episode, interview guests and systems thinkers from our audience tell their stories of thinking outside the textbook, eureka moments, and the radical learning experiences that brought them into the systems thinking community.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been." - Wayne Gretzky

"Our knowledge is a network of experiences, people and ideas." - Stacy Hale

"I think that leaders and innovators that are standing out these days are finding ways to parle their passions their life experiences into professional skills and vice versa and isn’t that how it should be?" - Stacy Hale

"I think the problem that I have with best practices is the word “best”, because it implies that there is no better way to do things, but as we learn and as we apply our outside of work experiences to work in vice versa, we find better ways to do things through the way that we evolve with the systems that we are apart of." - Stacy Hale


"Health is messy, health is complicated, and the elements that pertain to health are interdependent." - Michele Battle Fisher

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Episode 010 SuperEducation

Stacy & Angie explore different perspectives on learning, and ask their mentor (and listeners), "What has been your most radical educational experience?" 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“New movement of finding knowledge or education through experience” - Stacy Hale

“What if schools helped us realize what we don’t know?” - Angela Cross

“I attended several Ivy League schools, but my most radical learning experience was working at a drugstore when I was 14 and making sure people are taken care of in a beautiful way, which is really all you do in business anyway.” - Doug Drane

"We all walk around running different value systems and different mental models and we filter our learning through those perspectives." - Stacy Hale

"Real learning gets to the heart by what it means to be human." - Peter Senge

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Episode 009 "Systems Citizens"

Peter Senge referred to "systems citizenship" as the leadership mandate for this millennium. So how can we all be better systems citizens?   In this episode we ask real systems citizens (practitioners and educators) at Royal Roads University in Canada how studying complexity helps them understand the world and solve real world problems.   What is complexity's "definable, deliverable gift to the world? How can we use it to influence and make impact, and even grow ourselves as people? 


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"The way I look at systems, it is a continuum and remember when we talk about boundaries in systems thinking, I'd like to think that boundaries are set by the discussions that are taking place." - Kassam Habibullah

"For me, it [systems thinking] requires me to be aware about my own assumptions, preconceptions, the way I see the world, the way I perceive the world, my expectations and being really self-aware about those and be intentional about challenging how I look at situations, how I look at systems, how I perceive it, forces me to be open and flexible and looking at different ways to get to a destination." - Kathy Sturgeon

 

 

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Episode 008 Trust the Process

Complexity shouldn't make people anxious--in fact it should make life simpler. With all this talk of emergence and working with uncertainty, it seems like there's an element of "trust the process" at work in putting complex systems theory to work in the workplace. What does that look like? In this casual conversation, Stacy & Angie ask, what does it mean to trust the process? How do you structure your attitude, mental models and workplace for emergence? How can an understanding of life as networks, and an awareness of our own value systems & mental models bring us a sense of personal mastery?


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

Yet every person in the world is dealing with a multiplicity of units and combinations of forces which make up his entire daily life and which create his environment and life circumstances.” - Alice Bailey

"Maybe it's not so much trying to achieve the ultimate certainty that we need to be concerned with, but being responsible with certainty." - Stacy Hale

How do you use big data and yet still take into account the heuristics and passing on knowledge? Angie Cross

"The wisdom that your grandmother shared with you, on the porch with a glass of iced tea is still important." - Stacy Hale

"Even though we're becoming complexity aware and we're understanding the importance of networks in the evolution of our societies, our economies, ourselves, still we’re clinging to our big data to draw reductionist conclusions." - Stacy Hale

"By being aware of our mental models, we can see how everything that happens is filtered through us and we can guide that." - Stacy Hale

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