Pearls of Systems Wisdom

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment
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|Photo by hollaa01|http://www.flickr.com/photos/idrewuk/3548905692|

Last week I attended Pegasus Communications’ annual Systems Thinking in Action Conference in Boston and had the privilege of meeting and hearing from extraordinary people from around the country and globe, all interested in helping others to better see and work with wholes.  From systems mappers and modelers to complex facilitation practitioners to researchers and preachers, my teachers were many.  I was one of many tweeters spreading the wealth of wisdom cycling through that dynamic event and system.  Here are some of my favorite take-aways in the form of quotes heard, read, and spiritually imbibed:

  • We have seen the system, and it is us! – overall theme
  • “There is a big difference between trying to be the best organization IN the world and the best organization FOR the world.” – Art of Hosting workshop participant
  • “Love, allowing the other to be a legitimate other, is the only emotion that expands intelligence.” –Humberto Maturana
  • “Collective will is the attractor that allows form to emerge from chaos.” -Tracy Huston, from her book Inside Out
  • “Trying to be right is a learning disability.” – Ray Jorgensen
  • “There are three conditions PROVEN to bring out the best in us – the ongoing dispersion of power, transparency, and mutual accountability.” – Frances Moore Lappe
  • Why vision matters – “You can solve all of your problems and still not have what you want.”  – Robert Fritz
  • The good news – “We are once again learning what life is and what consciousness is.” – Peter Senge
  • Key question – “How can we each own our own fatalism, which continues to support systems that no longer serve us?” – closing plenary audience comment
  • And another one – “How do we make more visible and accessible the many promising changes and good news happening around the world?”

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  • Cynthia Parker says:

    Love it. Here are a few more, collected from a Systems Thinking Primer by the Kirwan Institute.
    *Systems self organize and self correct to resist change
    *The structure of a system – the underlying pattern of relationships among key components of the system—is as important is its parts.
    *The internal characteristics of the parts of a system may matter less than their placement and influence within the system.
    *Outcomes in a system have multiple and mutual causality.
    *Causation is also cumulative. Systems produce outcomes over time and across social contexts.

  • Gibran says:

    Thanks Curtis, way to share the kernel of wisdom – I’m inspired!

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