The Art of Obedience
The project has become unruly. Working on complex projects focused on topics like energy, water and agriculture, rarely goes as planned. Remaining focused yet nimble is essential. Developing a powerful idea is just the beginning, not the end of most projects. You still have to sell it. Meanwhile, Hutson, the Foresight-Wonder-Pup, has started training classes, an effort to refine his youthful instincts. His challenge is two-fold: keeping him focused, and practicing whatever skill the trainer has assigned.
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Filtering by Tag: Complexity
The Art of Obedience
The Middle Road
Photography mediates my stride. Hiking on vacation last week, I struggled to strike a balance between my speed-demon daughter, and slower-but-steady mother. I remember being my kid’s age, discovering a capacity to clock miles at a steady, accelerated clip, riding a mild adrenaline high that was difficult to moderate. She doesn’t like to slow down either.
On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his famous radio “Fireside Chats,” explaining his rationale for a bank holiday during the Great Depression. Perhaps his greatest achievement in these broadcasts was to communicate complex ideas in clear, accessible language, an essential skill for leaders working on thorny challenges or in emerging fields.
Through our project work and research, Foresight has been studying and practicing the mechanics of cross-sector collaboration for years now. Collaboration is by no means a novel concept, but working together on complex challenges requires new approaches, structures, and measures of success. Now is the time to ask, what does transformational collaboration even mean?Read More
If you have ever partnered with Foresight, you know that one of the first steps we take on a project is to create a “systems map” (or diagram) to better understand and make explicit the key elements, root causes, feedback loops, and forces that shape the system we are working on. But what does a systems map even mean?Read More
For its 2017 Person of the Year, Time magazine just named “The Silence Breakers;” the brave people who have bared their pain from sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse by those at the highest levels of power and influence, and catalyzed the emergence of a truly transformative movement that is shifting our cultural tolerance. YES!
While we have touched on the concept of emergence before in this series, this moment presents a compelling example and an opportunity to revisit it. So, let’s re-pose: what does emergence even mean?Read More
Have you ever noticed how so many work-related (and home-related, for that matter) challenges come down to miscommunication or differences of perspective? Well, as systemic designers, we like to call that "social complexity" and explicitly design for it in our practice. But what does social complexity even really mean?Read More
In these tumultuous times, it is hard not to wonder how we will ever recover. Well, when a dear friend recently reached out for my recommendations on self care, I shared something that helps me sleep at night: the panarchy theory. But what does panarchy even mean?Read More
One key characteristic of a complex system—be it a forest ecosystem, city, or an organization—is that it demonstrates “emergence." Think of city; it is far more than the sum of its parts (buildings + people + streets). Out of a city emerges culture, innovation, and economic growth. But what does emergence even mean?Read More
Leadership is a practice, not a position. I sat down this week with Forefront and their partner, i-D Leadership Consulting, to learn more of their noble efforts to transform stakeholders in Illinois’ nonprofit and philanthropic ecosystem into adaptive leaders. But what does adaptive leadership even mean?Read More
Outfitted for the Forefront
I never feel totally prepared. I’ve secured the fancy rain shell, down jacket and hiking shoes, and now sit contemplating how to fit all the gear in the suitcase, while simultaneously questioning whether I’m omitting something important. The older I get, the more packing induces anxiety. Perhaps I’m more aware of what can go wrong?
The stories of religious minorities seeking refuge in the Americas, as German Mennonites did in 1683, are held up as examples of the legacy of tolerance in the US. However, as this Smithsonian article explains, the history is much more complicated, and demonstrates that these freedoms have always been, and will continue to be, hard-earned.