In our upcoming episode, we share our interview with the co-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. Our conversation with her was very rich, covering concepts from how complexity thinking compares to systems thinking, change management, complexity as a worldview, and even how this field is shining a light on climate change. We covered a lot of ground in the time we had with her, although we wish we could have talked longer. Her humility and brilliance were captivating and just minutes into our conversation, we realized that she lives and breathes complexity, using this worldview to frame how she thinks, feels and acts.
We have learned a lot from our podcast interviews and casual conversations about complex adaptive systems. And recently, we have taken a closer look at how we define human intelligence. In the Webster dictionary, "intelligence" is defined as –the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. But, we feel that this definition and the cultural understanding of this word, limits the holistic nature of true human intelligence.
So, we were curious to learn more about the nuance, scope and scale of human abilities. And began wondering, what does it really mean to be intelligent?
Here are some of our favorite quotes that we believe capture the complexity of true human intelligence:
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been able to zoom out, per se, to see the big picture or whole system and, at the same time, understand the smaller parts that make up the system. However, it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I realized that not everyone is wired this way and that this ability is referred to as being a “system thinker”. I’ve also learned that people’s level of systems thinking varies across a wide spectrum.
As a curious systems thinker, earning my BA in Organizational Communication deepened my understanding of and ability to be a systems thinker. The following are some of the system thinking approaches that I practiced when earning my degree and continue to use in areas of my life today.