Episode Show Notes

November 5, 2015

November 5, 2015


Episode 019 - Let's Work Happy

What does happiness have to do with complexity, networks, and ecosystems? In this episode, Angie and Stacy explore this question, and what happiness at work means to the members of the HumanCurrent team. 

Show Notes:

World Happiness Report

The Happiness Advantage

“75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.” - Shawn Achor

Being Happy at Work Matters

October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015

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:

You can find our guest Thomas Appleyard on Linkedin & Twitter

"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

October 8, 2015

October 8, 2015

Episode 017 - Emergent Ecosystems

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

Show Notes:

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

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

October 1, 2015

October 1, 2015

Episode 016 - The New Reputation Economy

We live in a reputation economy, where intangible assets like trust make up 85% of a brand's market value. In this episode, we ask "reputation whisperer" Bonnie Caver of Reputation Lighthouse about how to design a solid ecosystem for your brand's reputation.

Show Notes:

"60% of purchasing decisions are based on the company, 40% are based on the actual product or service" - Bonnie Caver

"A company’s brand is an ecosystem co-evolving with it's employees, stakeholders, and customers." - Stacy Hale

7 Dimensions of Reputation:

products & services
citizenship (are you engaged in the community?)
leadership (ie thought leadership)

September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015

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:

“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

September 17, 2015

September 17, 2015

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:

“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

September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015


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:

You can find our guest Michele Battle-Fisher on Twitter & Linkedin

"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

September 3, 2015

September 3, 2015

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: 

"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

August 27, 2015

August 27, 2015

Episode 011 - Isaac Morehouse on How to Be Your Own Resume

In this episode we interview Isaac Morehouse, founder of Praxis, writer, and podcaster who's obsessed with human freedom, education, and entrepreneurship. Praxis is a one year program where you learn by doing. Participants work alongside founders and CEOs at an amazing company while also completing a rigorous education experience which includes one-on-one coaching, self-guided projects, hard and soft skills training, and more. Isaac talks to us about the explorer mentality, the eureka moment, and shifts in the complex system of higher education.

Show Notes: 

You can also find Isaac Morehouse on Twitter & Linkedin

"The idea that you can achieve expert status in a classroom and then step into the market is silly. I think the dichotomy of working and learning will continue to blur." - Isaac Morehouse

"We believe (at Praxis) that all ideas are networked, so personal transformation leads to organizational transformation." - Isaac Morehouse

"Personal mastery is a little different than being a subject matter expert in one thing. It’s a network of skills, passions and ideas." - Isaac Morehouse

August 20, 2015

August 20, 2015

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:

“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

August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015

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? 


August 7, 2015

August 7, 2015

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:

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



Episode 007 - Certainty Merchants

"Our personal relationship with uncertainty is fundamental to being human, yet over the last 30 years we’ve begun outsourcing it to other people. You have a relationship to those big questions." Climate change, inequality, the rising cost of college tuition... all complex problems, but not complicated. Out of touch with the rhythms and interdependencies of our natural environment, we look to statistics and experts to help us make major decisions. Are we missing something? In Part 2 of our interview with Diego Espinosa, we learn from a former money manager about how our addiction to certainty over the last three decades has created a whole industry of specialists who make money using statistics to sell the promise of certainty and security--and it's making us more vulnerable. What happens when we stop listening to the the certainty merchants? Can we leverage our strongest social bonds to regain resilience in an uncertain universe? What can the complex patterns of the natural world teach us about ourselves?

Show Notes:

"This is a very personal request that I'm making of people, to reestablish and re engage with uncertainty in their lives. Think about the fact that the future is uncertain. How do you feel about that? How does it make you feel?" - Diego Espinosa

"I think if we see ourselves as a little bit less special, a little bit more part of nature that we’ll naturally start to think about things in a complex systems way." - Diego Espinosa


Episode 006 - Information, Ants & Inequality

Most of us are unaware of how our actions lead to self-organizing behavior." In this episode we talk with Diego Espinosa, founder of the complexity based Sistema Research, about the way information travels in ant colonies, financial meltdowns, and human social networks--and the things these complex systems all have in common: feedback loops. In a complex world where we are bombarded with false signals about certainty, how can we regain resilience? 

Show Notes:

"Preferential attachment is the tendency for certain nodes within a system that have a lot of connections already to make more connections." - Stacy Hale

"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 not mystical, but kind of magical in a sense." - Diego Espinosa

"The way we wanted to hold on to the certainty was by essentially borrowing money." - Diego Espinosa

"Take back control of your personal relationship with uncertainty." - Diego Espinosa


Episode 005 - Culture & Human Systems at Work

Stacy & Angie imagine the workplace as a complex living system, muse on how information travels through networks, and get meta about culture and change. Cover artwork for this week's episode: "Faberge Fractal" by Tom Beddard, sub.blue, @subblue

Show Notes:

"Complexity is inevitable and I think it's what gives beauty to our greatest natural systems" - Stacy Hale

"By understanding complexity theory we give credence to the idea that small actions can create big change." - Stacy Hale

“Nature is not stagnant, but alive and dynamic” - Rousseau

“All human interaction is one social network.” - Geoffrey West

"Having a system thinking lens allows us to think outside of ourselves and see how someone else's interactions affect us." - Angie Cross



Episode 004 - Complexity & "Flow"

In states of "flow," inspiration and ease come effortlessly and a person does things for the sheer joy of doing them. Flow states allow us to more easily perceive networks of relationships between the elements of our selves and our environment, to handle complexity with grace and ease. What happens in these states? In this episode we explore the idea of the autotelic personality - someone who is more often than not curious, internally motivated, productive and operating with a sense of flow. What would the autotelic workplace look like? What would life be like if we spent more time in flow?


Episode 003 - Using Systems Thinking to Resolve Conflict, an interview with Jason Dykstra

In this episode we talk with conflict resolution expert Jason Dykstra about the complexity of conflict: why we're afraid of change, how to shift from a mindset of scarcity to abundance, and how understanding complexity in relationships can help us evolve ourselves and our world. Jason Dykstra is a conflict resolution specialist, international speaker, husband, and father of two. He works with organizations and churches in Canada and the USA assisting them through sticky situations and improving company culture. Jason uses his knowledge of complex systems to help people and organizations find creative solutions to conflict and become “comfortably uncomfortable with approaching the unknown.” Jason believes that personal growth affects the growth and evolution of an organization, and that no matter where you are in a system, if you make even small changes it will automatically cause others to change as well. You can find out more about Jason at jasondyk.com, or on twitter @jasondyk. Subscribe in iTunes

Show Notes:

"I think understanding complexity, or at least understanding how we can approach complexity, is so useful in our everyday lives, because every time we have a conversation, every time we witness an action for example, we have different perspectives that come out of that. And, that’s part of complexity, right? That we witness the same action, that we have the same experience and we walk away with two very different experiences." - Jason Dykstra

"I think people aren’t afraid of change, they’re afraid of the loss that exists within it, and the grieving of those aspects that we lose." - Jason Dykstra

"A lot of the work that I do is helping people shift from that reaction of judgement, into a spirit of curiosity." - Jason Dykstra

TedTalk with Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Books Referenced in this episode:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl


Episode 002 - The F-Word Failure (And Feedback Loops)

When is screwing up beneficial? What can we learn from failure and its relationship with uncertainty and innovation? In this episode we toss around a few f-words to explore what happens when "noise" is part of the co-evolution of a system.

June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015

Episode 001 - Why Complexity?

In this first episode of the HumanCurrent podcast, we begin our casual conversations about complexity by defining what complex systems are and why they matter in life, work, and all the things we do. What is complexity? Why do we care when there are starving people in the world? Why not focus on simplicity? Systems and networks shape our world, even (and especially) when we can't see them.

Show Notes:

"Complexity is a fact of life and nature. We can't ignore it. We can't avoid it. It's just there. It’s a natural phenomenon." - Stacy Hale

"My goal in exploring complexity is to help people understand that it doesn't necessarily mean complicated–only non-linear." - Stacy Hale

“A complex adaptive system is a network, a set of loosely connected units each pursuing its own agenda in response to local conditions...the absence of strong central control in such networks can be a virtue because local units can adapt very quickly to new developments and because the loss of any one outpost does little damage to the whole.” - Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal

"Complexity is not some abstract academic concept that doesn't have any application close to home." - Stacy Hale

"It's a different mindset. It's about planning for adaptability and emergence versus avoiding failure and the mindset is so much about being present within the feedback loops." - Angie Cross

“The whole is disorganized but each individual fragment is in order, is a representative of a higher order. The highest order prevails even in the disintegration and the totality is president even in the broken pieces." - Aldous Huxley

Books reference in this episode:

Reframing Organizations by Bolman & Deal

June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015


Episode 000 - Welcome to the HumanCurrent

Hi there! Welcome to the HumanCurrent, with Stacy Hale and Angie Cross. We're here to explore how understanding complex systems can help us make sense of the world, especially our human systems.  In this foundational episode, we explain why we are starting this podcast, and the journey we plan to share with you. We hope to create the Human Current as a hub for conversation about complexity.