The following pointers are to stories written by
others that support Tipu Ake thinking. They are available
on the websites referenced. These are mostly information
sharing sites and normally also include many other stories
that can be freely accessed. The sections in italics
are comments relating to Tipu Ake thinking. See
also Links to other
Back-to-nature way to herd cats ( Leadership)
Need a new way to get things done? Look to life
and death in nature, reports Vicki Jayne.
A good team can achieve a lot more than the summed
efforts of its individual members. That, at least,
is how it's supposed to happen in the ideal work
world.Reality is usually messier. Finding the right
sort of glue to meld a disparate bunch of egos into
some kind of coordinated work "force"
is the subject of much management theory. One writer
notably compared it to "herding cats".
Part of the problem is that we live in an increasingly
individualistic society. Its natural tendency is
not to call on collective wisdom but to throw up
project "heroes" - individuals who have
sufficient know-how and personal clout to get and
keep the wheels of a particular enterprise turning.
While that might get things done, it has serious
pitfalls. If team members feel their contributions
are not being valued or, worse, someone else is
claiming credit for them, the whole enterprise loses
energy or becomes prone to sabotage.
Lack of leadership depth is also an issue. If the
"hero" goes AWOL for whatever reason,
the enterprise risks losing traction or even complete
derailment.Which is why managers should be interested
in the story of how a small, Central North Island
school transformed itself from an educational disaster
zone into a learning environment that consistently
nurtures student success
This story was written by Vicki Jayne about
Tipu Ake just after its launch was published by
the New Zealand Herald on Jan 16 2002. It can be
If you want to know more about herding cats,
try downloading the video clip commercial from the
EDS site. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4057591681481453187
Capitalising on the Spirit
The Days when businesses could operate solely on self- interest, short-term gain and with an eye on the bottom line are numbered as customers, employees and shareholders insist on knowing what companies are doing in the world
There is a growing interest in what is being called 'spiritual capital'. Financial planner, chartered accountant and managing director of Money Matters and Rodger Spiller & Associates, Dr Rodger Spiller, says spiritual capital is the value reflected in a business's commitment to quality of life. "It is a bit of an intangible - like brand worth," he says. "It's something that helps companies be better able to attract customers and employees. "It's about focusing on quality of life and sustainability. These are things that citizens are getting more aware of and are seeing as more important." ......
.... Rodger points out that wealth is being redefined but, in some ways, it's reverting to its original meaning. According to Wikipedia, wealth comes from the old English word "weal", meaning "well-being" or "welfare", and the term was originally an adjective used to describe the possession of such qualities. "Spiritual capital reflects the original definition of wealth as wellbeing - not just money," Rodger says. "It's about individuals and businesses being environmentally and socially responsible and wanting to improve wellbeing for all. "Employees want to work for companies that take into account these things. Interestingly, companies with this broader perspective who look to enhancing quality of life are doing better financially....
..... Looking at New Zealand particularly, Chellie Spiller, who holds a masters degree in international relations and is researching a PhD in business, says this country has a huge asset in enhancing spiritual capital: the Maori culture. Spiller, of Ngati Kahungunu descent, says from a Maori perspective, spiritual capital enhances sustainability. "It's about the fundamental questions of life. "She says the Maori concept of well being or ora, which the online Maori dictionary defines as: "1. be alive, well, safe, cured, recovered, healthy, fit. 2. (verb) to survive", explains it well by providing the reason for being. Ora reflects the purpose that Maori and many Maori businesses have of enhancing quality of life. Maori business principles demonstrate to all businesses how spiritual capital can be implemented.....
This story written by Val Leverson for the Employment Section of the NZ Herald on Oct 3 2007 can be found in full here. Both Roger and Chellie Spiller attended a Tipu Ake / Kaitiakitanga retreat in Te Whaiti with Hunter Lovins on Natural Capital in July 2006. www.kaitiakitanga.net/hunterlovins
Leadership can be explored as a social process
- something that happens between people. It is not
so much what leaders do, as something that arises
out of social relationships. As such it does not
depend on one person, but on how people act together
to make sense of the situations that face them.
It is happening all the time.
Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith from the
YMCA George William College in London explore the
theory and practice of shared leadership - and the
significance of ethical practice.
"The group took over. There was a whole group
leadership thing. I don't think leadership's necessarily
about one person - everyone has the qualities
of being a leader or taking some form of responsibility
in their lives, and sometimes that's a whole group
ethos. I want to work in a situation where people
can take on roles and responsibilities, tasks,
whatever they want to do. As long as I can assist
in this, rather than being the forerunning force
taking it over, then that's what I'm aiming for."
Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities
The mission of the Centre for Ecoliteracy is to foster ecological Literacy in K-12 Education. Being literate or "ecoliterate" means understanding the principles of organisation of ecological communities ( i.e. ecosystems) and using those principles for creating sustainable human communities. In particular we believe that the pribciples of ecology should be the guiding principles for creating sustainable learning communities. In other words, ecoliteracy offers an ecological framework for educational reform.
Ecology from the Greek word aikas ("household"), is the study of the relationships that interlink all members of the Earth Household. eEcocological thinking therefore is thinking in terms of relationships, connectedness nd context. In science this kind of thinking known as systems thinking.
Every Living System is a Network
Read the full article by Fitjof Capra at http://www.ecoliteracy.org/publications/pdf/creativity.pdf
(Also check out the many other articles by Fritjof Capra and many others on the Center for Ecoliteracy website which is dedicated to education for sustainable living. www.ecoliteracy.org including his observations on systems thinking )
This relates to a new view of Tipu Ake from a Learning perspective "Learning - Nature's Way"
Let us begin with Courage (Collective Cooperation)
The word En'owkin comes from the high language of the Okanagan people and has its origin in a philosophy perfected to nurture voluntary cooperation, an essential foundation for everyday living.
Jeanette Armstrong is an Okanagan Indian born on the Penticton Indian Reserve in British Columbia where she lived most of her life. She shares this concept on the ecoliteracy website http://www.ecoliteracy.org/publications/pdf/jarmstrong_letusbegin.pdf
To the Okanagan People, as to all peoples practicing bio-regionally self sufficient economies, the knowledge that the total community must be engaged in order to attain sustainability is a result of the natural process of survival. The practical aspects of willing teamwork within a whole-community system clearly emerged from experience delineated but necessity. However the word cooperation is insufficient to describe the organic nature by which members continue to cultivate the principles basic to care-taking one another and other life forms, well beyond necessity......
...Let us begin with courage without limitations and we will come up with some surprising solutions.
This story speaks of the courage required to question our assumptions about organisation, structures, leadership, decisionmaking and governance that have dominated our western world view. When we do this we start to discover and utilise our collective wisdom. (Also check out the many other articles by Fritjof Capra and many others on the Center for Ecoliteracy website which is dedicated to education for sustainable living. www.ecoliteracy.org )
What is Collective Wisdom?
So, what is collective wisdom - the subject of our conference? I would like to name just a few traits.
1. With collective wisdom it’s about something apparently paradoxical.
Summed up, collective wisdom can be described this way: “Together we know more.” If an issue important to all of us exercises the effect of an “attractor” and gathers the group around it, a third thing, something new, can take shape in our midst which is more than the sum of all the individuals, and which creates a special connection among us.
While the individual steps back a bit and becomes part of the larger commonality, he or she simultaneously lights up in his or her own individual uniqueness, irreplaceability, and specialness. The conscious experience of collective wisdom and the conscious experience then of unmistakably becoming ourselves, are one process and one movement......
2. Collective wisdom doesn’t recognize any particular experts –
there are only experts. Collective wisdom can more easily arise where we lower or eliminate the often so restrictive barriers based on hierarchy, or those based on ethnic or religious affiliation.
Of course we’re very happy here to have our many presenter experts, and we’re curious about their knowledge, their experience, and their inspiration. But at the level of collective wisdom there are no status or knowledge differences: We’re all equal – and that is a beautiful challenge for all of us! If we tend to see ourselves as “smaller” and others as “bigger,” then we can start to play here by giving up these postures. If we’re in positions of leadership, or tend to direct and guide others, then we can use this ability here to encourage others to equality, and to challenge them to become aware of their own potential for collective wisdom.
Read the full story at http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/mahr_speech_english.htm It was the opening speech given by Dr. Albrecht Mahr at the
Conference on Collective Wisdom, April 28-30, 2006
Wurzburg, Germany. Convened and designed by Dr. Albrecht and Brigitta Mahr, the Collective Wisdom Conference was a collaboration of ISAIL, the Institute for Systemic Constellations and Integral Solutions, FPA, the Research Group on Political Constellations, and Friendship Across Borders, a peace project with young Germans, Israelis, and Palestinians.
Growing and utilising Collective Wisdom is the central concept of
Tipu Ake, so we recommend you learn more about it
on the Collective Wisdom Initiative website www.collectivewisdominitiative.org
Hive Of Activity
(Organic Organisational models)
Lessons from honey bees can help us draw 'nectar'
from our hive of activity.
Dr Roger Booth, Associate Professor of Immunology
and Health Psychology, Department of Molecular Medicine
and Pathology, The University of Auckland tells
the human story of a biological basis for optimal
creativity.When we explore the world around us,
we engage in conversations to explain the things
The sort of stories we invent through these conversations
are supremely powerful because they influence not
only how we behave and how we work, but also what
we think and even what we are capable of percieving.
In order to make coherent sense of our world we
often take stories that explain one area and adapt
them to explain another area. For example, our understanding
of business and commerce draws heavily on theories
about the biological world, which in turn, are shaped
by many concepts from physics and engineering. Because
these conversations shape our lives, changing them
radically alters how we live and work. It is a little
like shaking up a kaleidoscope. The pieces are all
still there but, as they settle down, a whole new
pattern emerges and we perceive new meanings in
"Bees and termites can create miracles by
working together with reverence - humans even
more so. Humans have evolved to live cooperatively
with other humans. This requires acceptance of
others and the authentic contribution they make
to our lives"
This article with its focus on Cooperation,
Self Organisation and Networking reinforces Tipu
Ake thinking in the language of Biology. See
the full story in pdf format. You may need to
download Acrobat Reader to view it.
SEE ALSO: The Bumble Bee - Ken Thompson's shared know-how on team dynamics, virtual collaboration and bioteaming at www.bioteams.com/ There you can find a Videoclip "Why teams dont work and why bioteams do"
Biomimicry – An introduction
to natural intelligence
All organisms ~ plants, animals, fungi, algae,
and bacteria ~ must grow, maintain, feed, and reproduce
to ensure their short-term and long-term sustainability.
The same can be said for humans. But the way industrial
humans have gone about meeting their needs is quite
different from the way other organisms survive,
and therein lies the root of our sustainability
Non-human organisms, by and large, meet their basic
life requisites within the confines and constraints
of their environment. Within that habitat context,
they either adapt, migrate, or go extinct. …..
Dancing With Systems
1. Get the beat.
2. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
3. Expose your mental models to the open air.
4. Stay humble. Stay a learner.
5. Honor and protect information.
6. Locate responsibility in the system.
7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
8. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
9. Go for the good of the whole.
10. Expand time horizons.
11. Expand thought horizons.
12. Expand the boundary of caring.
13. Celebrate complexity.
14. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.
People who are raised in the industrial world and who get enthused about systems thinking are likely to make a terrible mistake. They are likely to assume that here, in systems analysis, in interconnection and complication, in the power of the computer, here at last, is the key to prediction and control. This mistake is likely because the mindset of the industrial world assumes that there is a key to prediction and control.....
For those who stake their identity on the role of omniscient conqueror, the uncertainty exposed by systems thinking is hard to take. If you can't understand, predict, and control, what is there to do? ....
Systems thinking leads to another conclusion–however, waiting, shining, obvious as soon as we stop being blinded by the illusion of control. It says that there is plenty to do, of a different sort of "doing." The future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. Systems can't be controlled, but they can be designed and redesigned. We can't surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them. We can't impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.
Earthdance - Living Systems in Evolution
This book is a work of philosophy in the original sense of a search for wisdom, for practical guidance in human affairs through understanding the natural order of the cosmos to which we belong. It bears little resemblance to what we have come to call philosophy since that effort was separated from natural science and became more an intellectual exercise in understanding than a practical guide for living. To find meaning and guidance in nature, I integrated my personal experience of it with those scientific accounts that seemed to best fit it. From this synthesis, meaning and lessons for humanity emerged freely. I wrote the original version in the peaceful, natural setting of a tiny old village on a small pine-forested Greek island, where I could consider the research and debates of scientists, historians, and philosophers, then test them against the natural world I was trying to understand.
Putting into simple words the specialized technical language of scientists and winding my way through labyrinths of philosophic prose, I gradually simplified the story of the origins and nature of our planet within the larger cosmos, and of our human origins, nature, and history within the larger being of this planet.
The Gaia hypothesis, now Gaia theory, of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis -- the theory that our planet and its creatures constitute a single self-regulating system that is in fact a great living being -- is the conception of physical reality in which my philosophy is rooted. Quite simply, it makes more sense on all levels -- intuitive, experiential, scientific, philosophical, spiritual and even aesthetic and ethical -- than any other conception I know. And I have come to believe, in the course of this work, that this conception contains profound and pressing implications for all humans.
Systems Thinking and Common Ground (NZ)
The author - a professional engineer - has for many years been concerned about an apparently disfunctional relationship between the (mainly British-origin) Pakeha settler population of Aotearoa/ New Zealand and the indigenous Maori (who currently comprise around 15% of the population). This has been particularly marked in the case of issues of sustainability in the use of land and resources for human development. Both sides have worked to address the problem, but a consensus position is yet to be reached. In this paper it is pointed out that if the outcomes of modern systems-based transdisciplinary scientific thinking on sustainability are carefully compared to the outcomes of indigenous traditional thinking on the topic, a remarkable degree of agreement becomes evident, and this could provide the basis for policy development.
Read the full paper by Dr John Peet Dept of Chemical and Process Engineering (retired), University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ published in the International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research Vol 1 No 1 2006 at http://www.ijtr.org/Vol%201%20No1/6.%20Peet_IJTR_Article_Vol1_No1.pdf
See also the Story on Kaitiakitanga by Andree Matieu on the Kaitiakitanga Website and the paper by Te Kipa Kepa Brian Morgan, University of Auckland Engineering School - "A Tangata Whanua perspective on Sustainability using the Mauri Model"
Extremophiles - The Future of Corporate
and Executive Development? (Organic
Kevin Wheeler, President Global Learning Resources
Pty USA, ignited great interest with this keynote
topic at the Human Resource Institute Conference
in Wellington NZ on 12/09/2002
Nature's extremophiles live in the harshest environments
on Earth where life previously was considered impossible.
Human counterparts of the extremophile are people
and organisations that defy the odds by not only
surviving but also thriving in threatening times.
The extremophile's toolkit contains an array of
adaptive strategies that enable instant response
to sudden changes and slow evolution to stay ahead
of long-term shifts in the environment. Extremophile
leaders and organisations excel at readiness so
they can turn threats into opportunities.
Based on research conducted over then past two years
by Global Learning Resources, Eileen Clegg and the
Institute for the Future, this fast-paced briefing
introduces some of the influences and trends that
are changing how we develop the management and leadership
team of organisations.
Leaders are not created magically but emerge over
time from a continuous process of being challenged,
being weeded out by the challenges or by meeting
the challenges, reflecting on what was learned and
applying it to the next challenge. Leadership teams
that are seldom challenged, who do not reflect on
the reasons for success or failure or that turn
over quickly; do not perform well. Every organisation
that is concerned with good leadership should develop
a variety of tools to challenge, stimulate, provoke
and test the leadership team. For more information
on this thinking see an article by Eileen Clegg
"How extremophiles Thrive in Impossible Conditions:
Lessons for Business from Natures Super Survivors
For even more, search the web using the keywords
extremophile and meme
Much of this thinking attempts to relate extremophile
responses to the behaviour of a leader in an organisations,
but our human concept of an individual leader is a
somewhat foreign one in nature. Many who attended
the presentation on Tipu Ake at the same conference,
saw the Te Whaiti school with its shared and collective
leadership as a very strong a demonstrator of the
Another aspect of extremophile research includes Memes
- a self-reproducing and contagious idea, thought
structure, or other information pattern which is propagated
in ways similar to that of a gene [or a virus]. Individual
slogans, catchphrases, melodies, icons, inventions,
ideologies, religions,and fashions are typical memes.
An idea or information pattern is not a meme until
it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to
someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic.
(see Encyclopedia Galactica http://third-man.com/orions_arm/eg/m/Me-Mh.html)
At Te Whaiti memes circulate freely in stories and
"The biggest enemy we face is the one within
us, when we conquer that one the rest are easy",
"Courage is a magnet, the most attractive attribute
- one person with courage is a majority", "There
is no room for egos here, you need to quickly get
past that stage and share the credit", "We
have a well used Maori proverb - A kumara never calls
itself sweet, that's for the eaters to say",
"Those who lead give sight to those who follow;
those behind give life to those ahead.: "Leadership
is not the same as the leader, anyone can have it
and it floats back and forth all the time", "
We leave our hats [status] at the door", "My
strength is not from myself alone, but from the strength
of the group", "With my basket and your
basket we all will be satisfied", "we have
no room for matapiko (stingy) gatekeepers", "Search
for the path that is right for you". "When
you focus on outcomes, nothing becomes a barrier",,,,,
The Tipu Ake Lifecycle captures, replicates and
shares these and many other memes.
Chaos without the math; (Chaos
Judy Petree, Wade Forest University
North Carolina explains
1 The History of Chaos: Who found it, What are
they doing with it, what's next?
2 Instability What causes it?
3 The strange attractor What takes over?
4 Phase transition What happens at decision time?
5 Deep Chaos To be or not to be?
6 Self Organisation What is this new complexity?
7 Conclusion How can we find it and use it?
Find the full story on Judy Petree's Pages http://www.wfu.edu/~petrejh4/chaosind.htm
"Chaos without the math" at Wade Forest
Mathematicians are discovering that chaos - the
place where everything seems to be mixed up in a state
of apparent instability, high variability and interconnectness
is described by a quite simple repetitively applied
mathematical equations (eg distorted feedback - X2
+C=X) that are very dependent on their initial conditions.
One of these is the Mandelbrott set. An example is
the world's weather where major effects and instability
can be triggered by very small changes to initial
conditions. In times of order there is a stable "attractor"
that holds the system steady, but as we move towards
disorder (more variation) a frequency doubling is
observed , until the system becomes chaotic. The Lorenz
Strange Attractor describes and drives this seemingly
disordered and random state. Even within this apparent
chaos we observe some islands of order - examples
are the eddies in turbulent (chaotic) flow (in a wild
river, cloud formation or weather pattern that emerge
interconnect and self-organise to grow into a more
more predictable state.
These equations manifest themselves as complex,
very interconnected and repetitive patterns - Whereas
a line drawn in a circle looks like a straight line
as you get closer and closer to it to it, a straight
line is a shape that still looks straight the closer
you get to it. Nature has no straight lines - it is
non-linear. Fractal Geometry is the study of the complex
non-linear mathematical patterns patterns that are
rampant in nature which have the characteristic of
continually repeating the more you magnify them. If
you distort these patterns mathematically (Afine transformation),
then drive them randomly, they revert back to the
original stable pattern.
In the patterns that the mathematical models of
chaos generate, we recognise many of the familiar
repeating images of nature. eg cloud formations, waves,
growth forms eg fern leaf, (koru pattern) and even
the Tipu Ake logo which is taken from the highly repetitive
non linear ancient Maori kowhaiwhai patterns. The
Tipu Ake Lifecycle www.tipuake.org.nz level 0 - "Undercurrents"
is about going down into this chaos, capturing it's
energy and diversity then finding and growing the
new and powerful order in it.
Ref video Understanding Chaos -The theory which
imposes order within disorder
Systems: A system is an entity
which maintains its existence through the mutual
interaction of its parts. The key emphasis here
is one of "mutual interaction," in that
something is occurring between the parts, over
time, which maintains the system. A system is
different than a heap or a collection, mostly.
Associated with the idea of system is a principle
called emergence. From the mutual interaction
of the parts of a system there arise characteristics
which can not be found as characteristic of any
of the individual parts. One has to study the
system to get a true understanding of "wetness".
Studying the parts will not provide an appropriate
From website http://www.systems-thinking.org/
compiled by Gene Bellinger which includes much
Management and Leadership - a Systemic
My contention is that the traditional
activity of management, i.e., planning, organizing,
directing, and controlling, is essentially the
management of balancing structures, while
leadership, i.e., challenge the process, inspire
shared vision, enable others to act, model the
way, and encourage the heart is essentially represents
the enabling of reinforcing structures
... read on
Knowledge Management - Bah Humbug!
Knowledge Management is a recent area of interest
for me. An area that got my attention because
of some connections made during my continuing
study of systems. I have pondered the relationship
between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom
for some time and from a systems perspective made
the following connection ... read
From Lifecycle to
Ecocycle: (Growth and Renewal)
Renewal via Destruction and Encouraging Diversity
Brenda Zimmerman, Schulich School of Business,
York University, Toronto, Canada.
The evolution and sustainability of complex adaptive
systems includes the natural and necessary processes
of destruction and renewal. The ecocycle framework
invites leaders to think about what they need to
deliberately destroy or stop doing to facilitate
the renewal of their work in health care. Drawing
from biological systems, the ecocycle also suggests
a need for a "healthy" organization or
system to have parts (or aspects) of the organization
in every phase of the ecocycle. Diversity in the
phases of ecocycle is crucial for the sustainability
of a complex adaptive system.
The Organic Cycle and the inter-connectiveness
of all life with death and renewal is an essential
concept embraced by Tipu Ake, so we recommend you
learn more about it by reading the remainder of
this article and much more about the Theory of Complexity
and Chaos on the Plexus Institute website at http://www.plexusinstitute.com/edgeware/archive/think/main_aides9.html
New Strategies for Managing
The sciences of biology and physics provide
clues for successfully managing projects in today's
Today's projects are different - they often involve
such intricate stakeholder interdependencies that
no one person can know them all. The project manager
faced with this over-whelming degree of interconnections
is probably working in a complex system where expertise
and experience may not be enough.
of our thinking about complex systems comes to us
from quantum physics and biology.
Let's explore three principals of complex systems
and their implications for managing complex projects:·
There is no meaning in isolation· Complex
systems evolve from simple rules· To understand
a complex system, study its complexity.
" A phenomenon occurs when knowledgeable,
involved people come together and think together.
They create a kind of collective knowing"
This story by Donna Robbins was published in
PM Network April 2001, the magazine of the Project
Management Institute and can be found in full at
The organisations that will thrive in this
new century are the ones that realise we are
moving from an industrial model of organisation
that is reductionalist, linear and narrowly
disciplined to a biological model that is
more nuanced and pluralistic and therefore
more comfortable with uncertainty, surprise
and constant change. This shift to aan ecological
perspective is more in tune with relationships
than with things. It represents the movement
towards seeing the organisation as a lunimous
living community which takes nature as its
model and , as such, is infinately improvisional,
seeing learning and adaptation as a natural
part of its ongoing evolution.
This story about "Learning to Think
as Nature Thinks" by Michael Jones (
pre -publication draft April 2001) is found
Companies are Groups of people, not machines,
so if you are having organisational problems,
Dr Leandro Herrero suggests it might be time
to call in a biologist.
Here you will find references to the biological model
thinking of Fritjof Capra in his book "
The hidden connections, a science for sustainable
living" in which he reminds us "A
machine can be controlled, a living system
can only be disturbed".
This story was published in Script magazine
June 2002. Dr Heandro Herrero heads The
Chalfont Project and is a visiting professor
at DUXX Graduate School of Business Leadership,
The full article is found at: http://www.thechalfontproject.com/pdfs/services/Organisational_Innovation/The_living_organisation.pdf
A unified open systems model for explaining organisational change
Doy Sundarasaradula - School of Economics and Information Systems, University of Wollongong
- School of Economics and Information Systems, University of Wollongong
Abstract: This paper presents an approach to developing a unified conceptual model to describe and explain change in organisations, viewed as complex systems. The authors propose a model that brings together the traditional open systems model (based on principles of homeostasis, steady state, and cybernetics) and the dissipative systems model (based on thermodynamic non-equilibrium principles) to explain distinctively different phases of change. Gradual and incremental change can be explained by using the traditional open systems model, whereas dramatic and discontinuous change can be explained by the adoption of the dissipative systems model. These two phases of change occur naturally, depending on the nature and pattern of external and internal disturbances. Since the implementation of any information system involves some degree of organisational change, it would be valuable to the IS community to more clearly understand organisational change processes, thereby increasing the possibility of success.
Find the full paper at http://epress.anu.edu.au/info_systems/mobile_devices/ch11.html#d0e4727
This is chapter 11 of a much larger volume containing the papers presented at the Information Systems Foundations: Constructing and Criticising Workshop at The Australian National University from 16 to 17 July 2004. http://epress.anu.edu.au/info_systems/mobile_devices/index.html
Strategic knowledge sharing: a small-worlds perspective (Chapter 10) by Mike Metcalfe, School of Management, University of South Australia
This paper is about designing knowledge sharing in wicked systems. The perspective the paper takes is that of the self-organising ‘small-worlds’ phenomenon. Specifically, this paper argues that strategic knowledge sharing can be viewed as designing small-worlds networks so as to allow a wicked socio-technical system to self organise a coordinated strategic response to unpredictable environmental changes. The evidence used comes from the softer systems literature, biology (insect) literature and social-network literature.
Reflection in self-organised systems (Chapter 9) by Maureen Lynch and Carmen Johan, School of Information Systems, University of South Australia
Organisations operating in a dynamic environment need to be able to detect and respond to changes both internal and external. One effective decision making approach is self-organisation, which is appropriate where there is a state of constant awareness of the working environment and flexibility so that decision-making groups are formed spontaneously to solve problems and incorporate changes. Decision-making from this perspective is done on three levels: individual, group or cluster, and organisational
We’re in a mess because we’re trying
to go it alone. When there were fewer of us
on the planet, when our technology was less
potent, and when the pace of change was slower,
the earth and our human institutions seemed
relatively resilient, capable of adapting and
responding to new challenges and opportunities.
The impact of unilateral decisions by business,
government, civic society or nations seemed
either minimal or were at least tolerable by
others. Today’s reality is vastly different.
The world we live in is smaller, more interconnected,
and fragile. Decisions and actions in any sector
can potentially affect the well-being of whole
communities and ecological systems. We no longer
have the luxury to go it alone.
Finding a way out of the mess requires tapping
the collective intelligence of the whole. We
are witnessing a shift in the way corporations,
governments, and civic society organizations
engage to tackle complex, controversial issues.
Over the past two decades, we have seen a demise
of one-way ‘public relations’ campaigns
and the rise of consultation and more recently
multi-stakeholder dialogue. On the horizon is
a new form of interaction whereby networks of
stakeholders come together to learn and innovate
at a systems level. Often the focus is on the
sustainability of bio-regions or communities.
While stakeholder network engagement is still
relatively rare, it is based on a principle
of co-creative power which allows diverse groups
to solve complex, cross boundary problems or
Read the whole story by Ann Svendsen &
Myriam Laberge, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver,
BC, Canada on the The Collective Wisdom Initiative
website at: http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/laberge_wholesystems.htm
Organic Evaluation at Santropol Roulant
If you happened to be strolling down the eastern slope of Montreal's Mont Royal one afternoon and walked down Duluth Street for a block or two, you would find yourself passing by a building covered by green graffiti. If you timed your walk just right you would the smell of a simmering stew, or pasta sauce, or fish, or steamed carrots or cake coming from the inviting looking kitchen. If you were fortunate enough to arrive at exactly 3:00 pm, you would be likely to see a dozen or so youngish people swinging sacks of hot meals onto their backs and happily walking, cycling, or driving off in all directions. ... Since 1995 Santropol Roulant has been bringing people together across generations and cultures through innovative approaches to community health... with and intergeneration meals on wheels programme.
.. At Santropol Roulant, evaluation is not a linear function at all. Nor is it separate from our ultimate mission. It is a particular way of being together and bringing people together and inviting people in ... This is the key element to our to our organizational culture and structure.
|Implement Organisational Change Efforts
||Experiment and Explore
Read the whole story by Vanessa Reid, Rennie Nilsson, Stephanie Garrow and Allison Griffith on the Santropol Roualnt website at http://www.santropolroulant.org/images/Organic%20Evaluation.pdf
Visit their website
Not Just Trees in the Ground
The Social and Economic Benefits of Community-led conservation projects
This report is about how New Zealanders lives improve when they start caring for their environment
We knew through anecdotes that when communities decided to improve their environment, their lives improved. But we didn’t have anything to back this up apart from stories from the projects. They were great stories, but still, just stories. So we commissioned Corydon Consultants to produce a qualitative report to analyse the social and economic benefits of community-led conservation projects. The result is Not Just Trees in the Ground.
It examines three community-led conservation projects that have been part-funded by WWF-New Zealand’s Habitat Protection Fund, and documents exactly what the benefits have been to people’s livelihoods and to their social networks.
To download your own copy of a copy of Not Just Trees in the Ground go to the WWF World Wildlife Fund (NZ) website
This report is an excellent study of Systems Thinking in action at a local level where everythigh is interconnected so thone action in one area leverages outcomes in many others.
The report states many times that none of the three projects had mechanisms in place to measure the environmental outcomes from these projects let alone the social or economic ones. From a Tipu Ake perspectative that indicates a pre-occupation with external analytical evaluation measures. Participants in communites undertaking such projects describe outcomes in rich stories; including the learning and growth of indiviuduals, the renewed existance of things like fish in the harbours and surfers swimming without getting rashes. Refer to the video from Whaingaroa. Perhaps the envaluation mechanisms mainly have have value for external funders who tend to see only the trees and often not the roots under the ground with the mycorrycal fungi networds extend to support them. See the story on organic evaluation above from Santropol Roulant for some very different options.
Bringing Schools Back
to Life: Schools as Living Systems
We speak so easily these days of systems -- systems
thinking, systems change, connectivity, networks.
Yet in my experience, we really don't know what
these terms mean, or their implications for our
work. We don't yet know how to act or think about
this new interconnected world of systems we've created.
Those of us educated in Western culture learned
to think and manage a world that was anything but
systemic or interconnected. It was a world of separations
and clear boundaries: boxes described jobs, lines
charted relationships and accountabilities, roles
and policies described the limits of what each individual
did and who we wanted them to be. Western culture
became very skilled at describing the world with
these strange, unnatural separations
. But I've gradually learned there is no
alternative. As our dance partner, life insists
that we put ourselves in motion, that we learn to
live with instability, chaos, change, and surprise.
We can continue to stand immobilized on the shoreline,
trying to protect ourselves from life's insistent
storms, or we can begin moving. We can watch our
plans be washed away, or we can discover something
new. The changing nature of life insists that we
give more attention to what is occurring right in
front of us, right now. We can't hide behind our
plans or measures. We need to become curious about
what's really going on, what just happened. The
present moment overflows with information about
ourselves and our environment. But so many of those
learnings fly by unobserved because we're preoccupied
with our images of how we want the world to be.
..... Being present in the moment doesn't mean
that we act without intention or flow directionless
through life without any plans. But in an unpredictable
world, we would do better to look at plans and measures
as processes that enable a group to discover shared
interests, to clarify its intent and strengthen
its connections to new people and new information.
We need less reverence for the plan as an object,
and much more attention to the processes we use
for planning and measuring. It is attention to the
process, more than the product, that enables us
to weave an organization as flexible and resilient
as a spider's web......
Learning and Leadership:
How can Schools really make
Quantum Theory of Trust (Learning)
To Karen Stephenson, a
maverick yet influential network theorist, the
association between trust and learning is an instrument
of vast if infrequently tapped organisational
power. The act of talking with a trusted colleague
generally triggers a resurgence of mutual memory,
opening the gates to fresh learning and invention.
For the full story read Art Kleiner's report in
the Shambhaha Institute Fieldnotes at http://www.shambhalainstitute.org/Fieldnotes/Issue8/index.html
You expect to be awed by the view from the deck of
the USS Benfold. The $1billion warship is one of the
US Navy's most modern, most lethal fighting machines:
8,300 tons of steel armed with the world's most advanced
computer controlled combat system.....and a crack
crew of 300 highly skilled, totally committed sailors...
When she's eating up the sea at full throttle she
generates a plume of froth that's two-stories high.
What you don't expect to find on board the Benfield
is a model of leadership as progressive as any celebrated
within the business world. The man behind the model
is Commander D. Michael Abrashoff... He is credited
with building the Benfold's reputation as the best
ship in the Pacific fleet. The ship won the prestigious
Spokane Trophy for having the best combat readiness
in the fleet - the first time in at least 10 years
that that a ship of it's class had received that honor.
Find the full story by Polly Labarre in Fast Company
Issue 23, April 1999 on the Fast Company website http://fastcompany.com/online/23/grassroots.html#
I Have a Dream : Martin Luther King:
Click here for Video, Audio and written presentation by Martin Luther King on 28th August 1963 in at a mass march on Washington. An display of great courage in demanding the issues of the day be faced. It enlisted national non violent support from many disadvantaged US citizens and focued all on a dream for a new future. (Ora)
See also a letter to fellow US Clergymen from Jail in Alabama 16 April 1963 who criticized him for engaging in the national struggle.