Archived Episodes


Viewing entries tagged
systems thinking

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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 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 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 033 Human Stories for Network Change

In this episode, Haley interviews Jasper Faolan, a writer, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and founder of Journal to Save Your Life, which is a free, online mental health program. Jasper advocates for self-expression, like storytelling, as a way for people to heal from trauma and mental health problems. And, she explains how her non-profit (J2SYL) promotes social change by connecting the dots within complex adaptive systems.


Show Notes


Resources from this episode:

Journal to Save Your Life is a therapy program, which consists of a one to 52 week online program for young women around the ages of 13 to 29. The program is carefully curated around specific personal struggles, from addiction and body image to toxic relationships. With a concrete foundation from psychology scholars, the program aims to help young women build social skills, reframe negative thoughts and inspire artistic expression in an effort to promote self-love and healing. You can find J2SYL on Twitter & Facebook

Billy Poole’s story  #projectselfiesdefeatdepression

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Episode 032 Exploring Complex Human Networks

In this episode, Stacy interviews Angie about the ins and outs of action research for her Master’s in Leadership project. They also introduce the topic of complex human networks with guest Mary Anne Herrick, who is the Communication’s Program Officer at World Vision and the President of Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA). FCAA  is also the sponsoring organization for Angie’s Master project.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Action research became the opposite of scientific research. Instead of standing outside the experiment, watching what happens and writing up your findings, you become a learner in a situation you helped devise. You develop a stake. You assume responsibility.” - Marvin Wiesbord, Productive Workplaces

“Cheers to emergent social networks powered by shared narratives and shared values.” - Stacy Hale

 

Resources from this episode:

Angie's MA in Leadership is at Royal Roads University 

May is Foster Care Month! Please click here to donate to FCAA.

You can watch this video to learn more about Mary Herrick's amazing work with World Vision.

 

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Episode 031 Understanding Complexity in Context, A Reflection Episode

In this throwback episode, Haley shares some clips from past guests: Diego EspinosaTK ColemanGloria Burgess, and Jason Dykstra. The interview clips we share are responses to these questions: what is a self organizing system, how did you become interested in systems thinking, and why does understanding complexity matter?


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“I grew up in a complex system.” - Gloria Burgess

“A self organizing system is basically a system in which order emerges from the different pieces following simple rules and interacting with each other.. and that order is kind of magical.” - Diego Espinosa

“Understanding context and what systems theory has to say can shine light on apparent discrepancies.” - TK Coleman

“Understanding how we can approach complexity is so useful in our everyday life...complexity is all around us...it’s a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our role within the world.”- Jason Dykstra

Resources from this episode:

General Systems Theory: Beginning with Wholes

The Answer Is Under Your Foot. How Ants Solve Inequality 

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Episode 030 How to Apply Human-Centered Design

In this episode, Angie interviews Andrea Ippolito, who is the Innovator's Network Lead at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Andrea shares how human-centered design is implemented and deployed at the VA in order to create exceptional experiences for our veterans. Her examples and advice are helpful for anyone wanting to build an innovation strategy using design and systems thinking methods.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Design thinking forces you to understand the context in which your user operates and live and what they appreciate and don't appreciate." - Andrea Ippolito

"Using design thinking actual helps reduce rework, because you are so focused on your users...you're impacting the bottom line on both ends of the spectrum both with operation and sales." - Andrea Ippolito

“It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them'”– Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

 

Resources from this episode:

You can find Andrea Ippolito & The Department of Veteran Affairs on Twitter

“How to Build a Culture of Innovation through Design and Systems Thinking”

Designing for Veterans: A Toolkit for Human-Centered Design

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Episode 028 Leaping into Design Thinking with Thought Leader Turi McKinley from frog design

In this episode, Angie interviews Turi McKinley from frog design, a global design and strategy firm. As a leader at frog, Turi regularly utilizes design thinking principles in order to excel frog’s thought leadership initiatives. During her interview, Turi explains the complex topic of design thinking in layman’s terms, as well as why design thinking is an essential mindset for anyone dealing with complex, wicked problems.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Stop talking & start making!” - Turi McKinley

"You need to have multiple perspectives together in order to make a solution that is meaningful to the user, appropriate for the business, and sustainable in the market." - Turi McKinley

“You should talk and plan collaboratively as a team but more importantly DO, build & make something together.” - Angie Cross

“Turi is great at taking this complex topic of design and breaking it down to layman’s terms. It goes to show how well she understands it.” - Angie Cross

 

Resources from this episode:

At Frog, Turi leads the frogCamp program, which builds the capabilities and processes that enable teams to transform the way they approach user centered design and innovation.

You can also find frog design & Turi McKinley on Twitter

Turi’s online Lynda course: “Design Thinking: Lead Change in your Organization”

 

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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 022 Turning Affordable Housing on It’s Head

In this episode Angie and Lindsey interview Walter Moreau, the Executive Director for Foundation Communities, a nonprofit which creates housing where families succeed. Walter discusses how the foundation leverages a systems-approach to affordable housing in order to provide a successful, sustainable program for families. His inspirational stories help paint a picture of how networks can work together to influence change within systemic problems.  


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“It is often tempting to assume that the agents of a system are all basically the same” - Harnessing Complexity

“Beyond systems thinking [approaching affordable housing] is more chaos theory...you have to be able to roll with the ups and downs of development” - Walter Moreau


“Affordable housing isn’t for ‘those people’, it’s for us - people we know [our community].” - Walter Moreau

 

Resources from this episode:

You can find Foundation Communities on Twitter.

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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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