An Informing Conversation with Complexity Labs


We discovered Complexity Labs several months ago after watching educational videos on their Youtube channel. Since then, we have read a number of their complexity related articles and have formed a supportive working relationship with their founder, Joss Colchester. We believe Joss and the Complexity Labs team are making a very important contribution to the complexity and systems thinking communities with their easily accessible learning content. Since Complexity Labs was established a few short years ago, they have made great impact producing over 300 video lessons, which have been viewed 2 million times.  

On the Complexity Labs website it states,“we see complexity theory as a next generation modeling framework for the sciences and a key tool for solving complex challenges in the 21st century and work to enable its accessibility.”

We recently spoke with Joss Colchester on our podcast to discuss his motivation for creating the most extensive online resource on complex systems. He described Complexity Labs as an internet-based, social business dedicated to solving a social problem in the most effective way possible. He explained further that most people who come into contact with complexity and systems thinking are academics or work in fields like quantum physics, so he created Complexity Labs to work toward solving our social problem of inadequate access to these important fields of study.

During our conversation with Joss, we learned more about some of the courses he offers. We were particularly interested in one of his newer courses, “Blockchain Introduction”, which provides an overview of this tool and how it can be applied to society, economy and technology. Joss provided us with several different examples for how people and companies might utilize this new tool and why he thinks it is important for the average person to be knowledgeable about it. He explained to us that this emerging technology is evolving rapidly and it holds the capacity to decentralize many industries that we interact with on a daily basis. He also said he thinks “the blockchain is going to be the coordination mechanism of how we, in many ways, structure our societies and our institutions and that’s going to happen quite fast.” This was a profound statement, which made us wonder...what does it truly mean to be a vigilant complexity thinker in our rapidly changing society?

Our reflections reminded us that we need to be aware and well informed about our environment and how it is influencing us. This means not only understanding more about the complex adaptive systems that are all around us, but also understanding the complex technologies that are affecting our everyday lives, including how we communicate and relate to one another. As the world becomes more complex, global and integrated, we are being called to practice discernment in every aspect of our lives. We need to arm ourselves with both attuned presence (sensing) and knowledge to navigate this landscape, which is evolving faster than ever before.

We believe Complexity Labs is a precious resource that provides a way for us to arm ourselves with knowledge that is digestible and usable in our everyday lives. We give thanks to Joss and his team for their contribution to this space and look forward to working more closely with them in the future!

Reductionism got us to where we are and it’s done a lot of good things, but it has also created a lot of problems, so we really need a new way of thinking.
— Joss Colchester

You can listen to the HumanCurrent podcast here and don't forget to subscribe in iTunesStay tuned for our next Complexity Live conversation with Complexity Labs on July 13th (1PM CST). 

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