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Complexity Theory - Fuel for Social Innovation

By Milton

I am very committed to exploring social innovation because it is incredibly interesting and holds so much hope for making the world better.

A summary of my work can be roughly oriented around three main parts: Discussion of leading ideas in the growing field of complex adaptive systems (or complexity theory) that have influenced my thinking; consideration of what that has to do with adaptive thinking and leading; and ongoing exploration of thinking and doing arts that have been helpful to myself and others in cultivating the kind of adaptive approaches to organizational leadership and design that are so needed today.

We need to improve our ability to transfer the insights of complex adaptive systems to the problems we face collectively. To accomplish this, we will need to foster a deeper understanding of how change happens in organizations, systems and even ourselves. The growing science of complex adaptive systems has been possible, in large part, through the computer. In complexity theory, the ability of computers to run billions of calculations has made studying complexity from a mathematical perspective possible – the computer has become the electron microscope of complexity and chaos theorists. A few key terms that frame the dynamics of complexity theory will be a starting point for further study and further reflection on how complexity theory can increase our awareness of organizational dynamics and the nested systems of change that constitute life and change.

Social innovation captures our wider collective sense that we can get better at how we conduct business, carry out philanthropy, govern ourselves and generate cultural practices that enrich us all.

More of my thinking lab work can be seen at: