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Trojanmice Complexity Club. Newsletter 21


I recently read state of fear by Michael Crichton, which is about global warming. He also makes the point that we can get stuck in our thinking over certain issues and hang on to them long after they are shown to be no longer valid. I recently have struggled to give up my belief in left brain/right brain which I often use in my presentations but which is not as simple as I thought. Thinking of business processes as linear is clearly one of those things that people have difficulty in giving up long after it is self evident that they are not.

Quotes (again thanks mainly to Dave Gurteen)

"What you measure - you distort."

*** David Gurteen Knowledge Consultant ***


"You can't be a serious innovator unless and until you are ready, willing, and able to seriously play. 'Serious Play' is not an oxymoron; it is the essence of innovation."

*** Michael Schrage Teamwork Consultant ***


The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

*** Neils Bohr Danish physicist ***


Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.

*** Barry LePatner ***


Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.

*** Pete Seeger ***


"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

***Scott Peck***


"The kind of conversation I like is one in which you are prepared to emerge a slightly different person."

*** Theodore Zeldin Historian & Author ***



Holger Nauheimer’s website, The Change Management Toolbook has been totally restructured and redesigned. He has added many new tools and methods, which are intended to help in facilitation, training and coaching.


Workshop on Complexity and Policy Analysis

Co-hosted by:

Department of Government University College Cork ETHOS Project
Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence, Boston
School of Public Affairs, Penn State, Harrisburg

Final Call

22-24 June 2005, Cork, Ireland

Key Note Presentations:

"Playing with C.A.R.S.: Perspectives on Management and Analysis in Complex Contexts"
Graham Mathieson, dstl, UK

"Robust Policy Analysis for Complex Open Systems"
Steven E. Bankes, RAND,  USA

"Systemic Intervention for Community Involvement in Complex Policy Analysis"
Gerald Midgley, ESR, NZ


Full details of the event (including registration form, accommodation details, and a list of accepted papers) can be found at:

If you have other questions regarding this event please do not hesitate to contact Caroline Richardson at

Problems of Co-operation and Enquiry

Conference to be held at University of Lincoln

Monday 28 th March to Friday April 1st 2005

Newsletters & Jounals

Perdido , is quarterly magazine devoted to examining organizational life in all its forms. Concerned with what's happening in organisations that are mission-oriented as opposed to merely profit-oriented. Helping conscientious leaders put innovative ideas into practice and interested in new management trends, concepts, practices, philosophies, business leaders, and authors.

3650 W. 183rd Street , Homewood, Illinois 60430, USA .

Contact: Monica Regan, Editor. Email:

Emergence: Complexity and Organisation (E:CO)

Although the increasing interest in complexity in regard to organisational settings has led to a growing recognition that real world systems can’t be completely designed, controlled, or predicted, leaders in business, government, healthcare, and other institutions have not necessarily kept apace with the many new developments coming out of the sciences of complex systems. On the contrary, it seems that when organisations do indeed succeed, it’s frequently been in spite of not because of the way they’ve been led, organised, and structured. The majority of organizations are still being managed as if they were simple, linear, equilibrium-seeking, and isolated systems, whereas complexity research has decidedly demonstrated that thriving organisations are better understood as complex, nonlinear, far-from-equilibrium, and in vital contact with multiple environments.

The first double issue of Emergence: Complexity and Organisation is available online for free at


Dancing with Systems by Donella Meadows

An interesting look at complexity theory.

Revenge of the Right Brain

A great article here from Wired Magazine by Daniel Pink on the new skills required to thrive in the knowledge world. A couple of quotes:

"We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognisers, and meaning makers."

"Until recently, the abilities that led to success in school, work, and business were characteristic of the left hemisphere. They were the sorts of linear, logical, analytical talents measured by SATs and deployed by CPAs. Today, those capabilities are still necessary. But they're no longer sufficient. In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere - artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent."

A Point to Ponder

There has been some discussion recently about doing away with street signs outside the London Museum. This has been based on an experiment in Holland where a town has done away with all street signs and road markings, and instead of rising accidents have fallen. This is because when motorists are not “told” what to do they start to think and make sensible decisions for themselves.

It has been suggested that this approach is based on the ideas of Mayor Mockus of Bogotá

It certainly makes interesting reading

And Finally

The only thing in this universe we can really control is our the ability to chose our attitude to what life presents us, and often it is the one thing we choose not to control.

Best wishes