Why we start organizations is intimately tied to why we choose to work together in the first place. If your goal is to create a garden in your back yard, you don't start an organization--because that's something you can do on your own. We start organizations because what we want to get done, requires others. That might seem like a simple concept, but it is where organizational effectiveness is lost or won.
That nearly everything at CNN is "breaking news" is not new, as it's not breaking, but it is news. Now, CNN is trying to fix its breaking news problem. CEO Chris Licht wants them to rethink the distinction and what it really means (See CNN tries to fix 'breaking news'.)
When mapping systems, achieving “compression” or “compressibility” in your maps is a best practice and a desirable skill. Compressibility is an indication of higher quality, more refined thinking. In other words, no matter how complex your map needs to be; if you can compress nodes in your map, it allows for you to see the 100,000 foot level; and then also have the ability to drill down to incredible levels of detail when needed for any node (sub-system) in the map.
Thanks Mark McGrath for producing this wonderful video with your son! That's why we named our book on adaptive organizations, "Flock, Not Clock"—because contrary to hundreds of years of conventional wisdom that guides us to build a clockwork organization that works like a machine, organizations are organic, adaptive superorganisms by nature...much more like a flock than a clock.
The "Systems Thinking Loop" (or "ST Loop") is where the rubber meets the road for systems thinkers. It is perhaps the most important of all the images because it describes WHAT systems thinking really is and HOW to do it. It is best to digest this image (Systems thinking itself) in three bites (red):
I am fascinated by how easily humans are manipulated; which is often the result of structural blindspots (bias) that are used against one another. In many ways, the last few years have been a crash course in the ways of manipulation, dishonest debate and dialogue, rhetoric, gaslighting and the like. But we often forget that these manipulations come very slowly, much like the fable of the boiling frog.
Designing an Effective Vision Can Be Challenging. By far, the most challenging aspect of Vision design is that they are ideally binary. Where VMCL is concerned, there are five "checks" for Vision that help you to determine whether or not you've designed an effective Vision. They are:
Let’s take an example where a learner is asked to understand the species concept, a categorization system that explains that all life is organized according to: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. There’s a few ways one might go through this process of being able to remember the species concept. First, a student might use flash cards:
This isn't a blog post, but more of a blog-collection. 8 common things that systems thinkers like to say that are bupkis. We call them sacred cows of systems thinking because it is almost blasphemous to disagree with them, even though most have a much bigger bark than bite. Click on the links below (in the right column) to red the blogs on each sacred cow. And, one thing is for sure, dare to challenge any one of these sacred cows 🐮, and you'll take a rash of shit 💩for it. People will come out of the woodwork to defend them with great fanfare and handwaving 👋. But stay steady, the logic of nature 🌱 and science 🔬 eventually win them over, but it can take time ⌛. Ug. 😛 In the list below, click on the links to go to articles on the sacred cow and its scientifically-valid replacement.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me a story of her own childhood. She spoke of how the children would collect tin foil wrappers from gum and cigarette packs and make a foil ball that could be turned in to help the war effort. This was all part of a scrap drive that children and citizens participated in willingly that included gathering grease fat containing glycerine that was used for bombs and metals of all kinds used in bombers (made by an increasingly female workforce that “manned” the factories where B-52 bombers were being made). Everyone pitched in because “our boys” were “over there” fighting.
Learn more about the definition of a slider, or read our other sliders... If you’ve raised children, you will inevitably be accused of being mean. You’re mean because you won’t let them have a third dessert. Because you insist that they wear a jacket when it is -5°F. Or, when you enforce a reasonable bedtime. But lately we’ve been noticing that Gen Z children—and to a large extent, the Millennial generation—think of a whole range of new things as “mean.” If I were to say for example, “hey can you brush your teeth? Your breath is terrible,” that might be considered mean. Even if, factually, you have halitosis.
There are a lot of techniques for learning something new and the learning sciences give us insight into what works: scaffolding, repetition, practice, metacognition, experiential learning and reflection, social cognition, embodied cognition, MAC, etc.
This blog has been partially adapted from A Literature Review of the Universal and Atomic Elements of Complex Cognition. Like a pack of wolves, tiny bacteria band together to hunt their evasive prey. In the soil underfoot, a nematode (“round worm”) avoids a deadly chemical. A cell runs toward oxygen to take part in photosynthesis and make the planet habitable by humans. Brightly colored water droplets animate and chase each other across a glass landscape. These are a few of the amazing microscopic dramas that occur just out of range of sight. Microbes and even non-living molecules use DSRP to sense and respond to their environment in a process called chemotaxis.
Over the years, different variables/symbols have been used for the same equation. In some cases for good reason, and in other cases solely because, like an English sentence, a mathematical sentence can be read and written in different ways toward the same effect. For example, take the following four equations:
If the right kind of Vision is so important, what explains companies that succeed with no [discernible] Vision? This is an important question we get asked a lot. Vision is a function of all organizations, whether formalized as companies, or informal groups of people such as protesters. Additionally, "good" Visions adhere to the vision-litmus-checks such that:
The term cognitive slider was coined by Derek Cabrera to communicate “a relatively small, nourishing or ‘meaty’ mental model” for use in increasing one’s prosocial or emotional intelligence. This blog is part of a set of blogs under the tag "sliders." Be sure to check out the tag to read them as a group and learn how sliders are at play and can help us in our everyday lives. Over the years, I’ve worked with many students and folks who are new to the workforce. I must say, working with a team of young, passionate professionals who still believe they can change the world for the better (and likely will) is one of the best parts of my job.
Prominent scholars in the field accept that the history and development of systems thinking has occurred in "waves" as originated by Flood, Jackson, and Keyes and built on by Midgley, et. al. This metaphor was extended in the late '90s early '00s with Cabrera  and Midgley  and the suggestion of a 4th Wave. The “waves” have proven to be a useful and powerful conceptual, historical, and pedagogical model (as long as we are aware of periodization bias and what’s-nextism bias). For a more in-depth review of the "waves" see Cabrera.