Episode 075 Embracing Complexity An Interview with Jean Boulton

Episode 75

Embracing Complexity An Interview with Jean Boulton

February 22, 2018

In this episode, Angie interviews author of Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence, Jean Boulton, who is also an academic and management consultant, specializing in complexity theory. Boulton talks with us about many different concepts including: how complexity thinking compares to systems thinking, change management, organizational strategy, complexity as a worldview, and even how this field is shining a light on climate change.

Show Notes

Quotes from this episode:

“We need another paradigm that informs us to make better decisions.” - Jean Boulton

“The world is complex whether you like it or not and we need to unpack that and understand that we’re saying more than that, there is a theory and understanding of complexity that we can bring to bear, and with that we do a better job of engaging with our human and more than human world.” - Jean Boulton

“So I see the complexity worldview as really underpinning and giving us some approaches to look at issues of social justice, inequality, climate change and economic and political systems, as well as how to manage organizations.” - Jean Boulton

“Complexity theory marries this kind of systems thinking with history. It really trying to understand how patterns change. So we both have to ask the question: What are the patterns we are currently in, and yet how might they change? And how deeply embedded are they?” - Jean Boulton

“Complexity is, in some sense, where physics explains evolution. Its the science of open systems.” - Jean Boulton

“No man ever steps in the same river twice.” - Heraclitus

“We live in a dynamic, evolutionary world of 'becoming' rather than a stable, predictable world of 'being'.” - Jean Boulton


Resources from this episode:

Quotes from Embracing Complexity:

“Systems thinking deals with stable patterns and history deals with the particularity of events, conditions, and individuals—but complexity thinking marries the two and provides us with a sophisticated and unique theory of change” - Embracing Complexity

“Complexity at its essence is not a model or a method or a metaphor, it is a description of the way things are." - Embracing Complexity

“This dance between detail & structure, between science & history, between form & individualism, is at the heart of the contribution of evolutionary complex systems thinking.” - Embracing Complexity

“To think systemically is to look widely, to seek out patterns of connections, to make the assumption that knowledge is held in the forms that emerge from interdependencies and reflexive connections.” Embracing Complexity

“If the world is complex, then acting congruently with that complexity can be simpler than trying to control a machine that does not exist.” ― Embracing Complexity