Complex Systems, Complexity, Chaos Theory,Complex Adaptive Systems,Complexity and Strategy,Organisational Change,Self Organisation,Complex Systems and Knowledge Creation,Brain,Mind,Complex Systems Resources,Complexity and Chaos Resources,Organisational Form, Complexity Theory,Consultancy


Welcome to this twelfth newsletter and seasons greetings to you all, and I hope you are able to find some time for yourself over the holidays where you can just be. I am often asked what are my goals in life, and recently I find that I do not have any as I have come to believe that they are harmful for me. As soon as I have a goal that is what I focus on which tends to blind me to everything else that is happening and I can then miss all those wonderful opportunities that are floating past. Robert Waterman said that “Opportunities are wonderful things which wander past in strange and unexpected ways”
I also came across the concept the other day that charisma is a function of a state of being.


The Trillion Dollar Vision of Dee Hock, an excellent piece examining the thinking of the man behind the Visa Corporation and the concept of the 'chaordic' organization can be found on WWDN website: (click on the link to systems thinking)

A though provoking article on thinking about thinking in our schools by Edward de bono can be found at
Here is an extract. - “His ideas are already being used in thousands of schools around the world through his Cognitive Research Trust, a charitable organisation devoted to teaching his methods. In Venezuela, all school children must by law spend two hours a week on his programmes. And, he says, the Dominican Republic, Siberia, Malta, Singapore and Canada all teach his thinking methods.”


I attended the Complexity Society’s first conference recently and listened to Ralph Stacey saying that human systems are not complex adaptive systems, but that they are a useful metaphor when considering our human systems. This ties in with some discussions, about the role of the leader that I have been having recently with my colleagues in Performance Network and at Hull University following a complexity workshop that I ran there. Although our organizations can be seen as complex adaptive systems the role of the leader has a tremendous impact on how they function and this seems an area worthy of much greater exploration and I would be very interested in any views or resources you may have on this subject.
See also the item relating to conferences below.


3rd International Working Conference

May 12,13th,14th 2003


Building on the success of our gathering in the UK in 2002, we are pleased to announce the details of our 2003 International Working Conference.

The theme for 2003 is "Leadership in Crisis" and we aim to explore the idea that the dominant vocabularies and stories of leadership in organisations, communities and indeed in the world, lack something important when it comes to dealing with the complexities and diversity of the multi-vocal 'inter-connected' world. That is to ask, have traditional leadership narratives begun to fail us and do we need to develop practices which are more suited to these times and the futures we seem to be making?

The purpose of the conference is to create a working space where an international, multi-disciplinary group of practitioners and researchers from business, public services and the non-profit sectors can come together to inquire into fresh and challenging approaches, and to share insights, stories and practice which seem to offer more promise.

Our venue this year will be Kontakt der Kontinenten, a former monastery near Soesterberg in Holland, situated a short distance from Schipol Airport. The fee will be £495.00 + VAT (including accommodation, conference fee, all meals and entertainment). Since, as before, this is a not-for-profit conference it is anticipated that all participants will pay this amount. Places at this gathering will be strictly limited to 60 people so an early reservation is advisable.

If you would like to make a contribution, reserve a place, or simply request further information as it becomes available please email us at

Also the first annual PLEXUS INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT for those interested in complexity, organizations and health is to be held on March 21-22, 2003 at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota.

The theme for this event will be: COMPLEXITY SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: UNDERSTANDING & ACTING TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE. (click on the link under events)

Leadership Again

Also on the theme of Leadership an interesting article 'Organisational transformation requires the presence of leaders who are Strategists and Magicians' can be found at
The article explores a kind of hierarchy of leadership.

Complexity Conference

As I mentioned earlier I attended the inaugural conference of the Complexity Society at Cranfield. It started well and I found Ralph Stacey’s presentation fascinating. However, in my view, it then began to go adrift. The following speakers gave good presentations but I did not feel that they had much to do with complexity but much more to do with modelling, and I was irritated by some of the rather obscure connections to complexity. Also there was little time for questions and almost no time for debate. I have received a lot of feedback about the event, much unsolicited, and it co-insides with my perspective. It probably wasn’t like this but it did feel as though there was an inside group who chose themselves as speakers and wanted to confine the questioning to that group, with the rest of us – in particular – the non academics there to listen and learn.

Still it is early days and I shall give it another chance.

Trojan Thinking

We had our first trojan thinking session last month and it went really well, so well in fact that we did not cover all the contrary C’s. The next one is on the 5th of Dec and the following one the 9th Jan – 8.00am to 9.30am at Planet Coffee on Newland Ave Hull. If you are over this way why not join us.

Due to the fact that I did not cover all the contrary C’s and because of lack of time I will describe them in a later newsletter.

That’s all for now – best and seasonal wishes