Complex Adaptive Systems

Seven Lessons for Leaders in Systems Change

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Authors: Stone, M.K. & Barlow, Z.

This blog post at the Centre for Ecoliteracy website presents a reflection on two decades of working on systems change. As an offering for leaders engaged in systems change, the authors report in this piece on seven important lessons they've learned.

How to make cross-partnerships work? Critical success factors for partnering

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Author: The Partnerships Resource Centre
Publication date: 2013

This study presents the insights of 294 state, market and civil society actors engaged in cross-sector partnerships all over the world. From 2008-2012 they were questioned on their experiences with -often- complex partnerships. This resulted in a top-5 list of critical success factors for partnering, an explanation why these elements are essential for effective partnerships and how they can be realised.

ODI Strategic plan 2014-2017

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The ODI strategic plan sets out the five main areas in which ODI will seek to make a difference, from the 'global to the local', in the coming three years. This document briefly introduces the strategic priorities and change directions.

The five strategic priorities in the plan are:

  • Eradicating absolute poverty and equalising opportunity
  • Promoting effective action on climate change and managing resources sustainably
  • Protecting people threatened by conflict, disasters and insecurity
  • Building accountable and inclusive institutions
  • Increasing productivity and creating jobs through transformative growth

Forum for the Future: What is system innovation?

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Forum for the Future believes 'System innovation' will change in food and energy systems change for a sustainable future. By working with leading businesses and organisations, they aim to use our system innovation approach to transform the critical systems we all depend on, such as food, energy and finance, to make them fit the challenges of the 21st century. This video presents the system innovation approach.

Systems Thinking white boarding animation project

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Starting with the simple task of making a cup of coffee, this white board animation creatively explains the basic concepts of systems thinking.

CognitiveEdge class: SenseMaker® Environment

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A self-paced introduction to SenseMaker® and how Cognitive Edge approaches narrative as applied to team, organizational, marketplace or environment issues and opportunities. While it is not facilitator-led, you can also learn from and collaborate online with other participants. The course materials go through the process of working with SenseMaker®, introduces the important terms and key concepts, and illustrates typical results.

Shifting the way we co-create. How we can turn the challenges of sustainability into opportunities.

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Authors: Kuenkel, P. & Schaefer, K (for The Collective Leadership Institute)
Publication date: 2013

In May 2012, the Collective Leadership Institute started a research project to explore the factors and patterns that help engender a collective way of leading for sustainability. The insights gained from this study show that isolated action needs to be replaced by collective leadership – a paradigm shift in how individuals find their leadership roles in the spirit of co-creation and contribution to the common good.

SAS2: A Guide to Collaborative Inquiry and Social Engagement

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Author: Chevalier, J.M. & Buckles, D.J.
Publication date: 2008

This guide represents a significant international effort to support the creation and mobilization of practical, authentic knowledge for social change. The guiding principle behind SAS2 (Social Analysis Systems) is that group dialogue and social inquiry are crucial for local and global development.

Social issues must be addressed socially and in a multistakeholder mode, not by private interests and experts alone, and the insights that emerge fully integrated into processes of knowledge production, planning, and decision-making.

Social learning for adaptation: A descriptive handbook for practitioners and action researchers

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Authors: Cundill, G. et alii.
Publication date: 2014

This handbook presents the experience of a participatory social learning process that evolved to support individual and community level adaptation to the myriad of stressors affecting rural people. The most critical factor emerging through the experience of this social learning process is how facilitators see their roles and their relationships with participants.

Successful Organizational Learning in the Management of Agricultural Research and Innovation: The Mexican Produce Foundations

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Authors: Ekboir, J.M. et alii. (IFPRI research report 162)
Publication date: 2009

Using a theoretical framework that draws on the literature on innovation systems, complexity theories, and organizational cultures and governance, this study analyzes the factors that allowed the Mexican Produce Foundations to develop strong innovative capabilities and how these capabilities were affected by changes in the interactions among regulatory frameworks, the federal and state governments and organizational structures, creative individuals, and the history of the processes.