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System Change Agents

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chaos, strange attractors, organisational culture and more...

chaos, strange attractors, organisational culture and more...

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    System Change Agents System Change Agents Presentation Transcript

    • Systems thinking, change agents, and social systems Michael Ashford mjashford@gmail.com
    • Mindgames……..
      • The tale of two coke cans……
    • So, you want to change the “system” ???
      • rule of coke cans - perceptions give rise to reality
      • action leads to reaction, including no reaction
      • as above so below. The whole is in the part and the part is in the whole
      • the whole is far more than the sum of the parts
      • Some things for a change agent in a system to remember …
    • What, more??!!!
      • Organisational/system equilibrium = unchanging = entropy = fearful people = zero = death
      • chaos can be created to shift to a new order
      • order and chaos are mirror images - system leaps into chaos/unpredictability, yet is held in parameters, well ordered/predictable
    • No, MORE*@#*!! PLEASE
      • wave or a particle? Attitudes we adopt will evoke one potentiality from the underlying reality’s many-possibilitied domain and will shape how a situation will unfold. Change agents as we all do reap what they sow. Always be true, and know your values….
      • A quantum change agent participates in nature’s/system’s unfolding, and is part of what he/she is in. The agent’s efforts to predict nature/system may interfere with what was going to happen. Remember, everything is interconnected and you are too….
    • A tale of interconnection….
      • I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly
      • I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond, and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog
      • I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
      • I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
    • Errr, can we get back to the system stuff….??
        • The system...
    • Lets change it!!!!!!!!
      • Steps….
      • Workshop - flip chart, lists, issues, schedules, plans, accountabilities, stick things to wall, get typed up, diary..
      • Review - structure, tasks, functions, hierarchy, allocation, delegation, reporting, auditing
      • Recommend - restructure, rehierachy, redelegation, reallocation, e-forms, issue emails & memos
    • New system...
      • The less fixed or the more uncertain the behaviour of any element of a system, the greater will be its influence on the system as a whole. A free radical??.
      Yeah, so what!!!!!! The more rigidly connected are the elements of a system, the less influence they will have on the system as a whole.The more rigid the connections, the more that each element of the system will exhibit a greater degree of alienation from the whole.
    • Lets look at that system again, but this time really really look.. Can you get a sense of how things happen simply by observing what is happening?
    • A different view...
      • What is really happening…...
    • When we give up myopic attention to details and get a sense of how things happen by observing the movement of the total social system, we see what is required to manage/shift a complex system.
      • Let chaos storm, let cloud shapes swarm, I wait for form…..
      • Lets be radical, lets be strange (attractors), lets change the system, let the dominoes begin to fall...
    • Some tools to begin with…..
      • Reflect on the whole, see the patterns, the empty spaces, the silences, the group field
      • Look for patterns of movement over time, rhythms, flows, directions, shapes, and structures that facilitate relationships
      • Understand the real is different for everyone
    • Some more...
      • Remember the wave and the particle - do not think role/authority of a person, picture instead the energy flows that are required for that person to achieve/fulfil
      • Draw from self-renewing systems and adaptive organisations thinking. Work with form and function engaged in a fluid process where the system may maintain its present form or evolve to a new order
    • And even more...
      • Be sensitive to the spontaneous emergence of social/political trends
      • Embrace paradox - the more freedom in self-organisation/determination, the more order. Autonomy at the local level, support for independent activity with a strong frame of reference from the system.
      • Capitalise on disequilibrium and chaos, that is when you will have enormous impact on the new order
    • What do I do to capitalise on chaos????
      • Borrow from the intelligence of viruses, become a mutant and infect/impact the system. Believe in the power of one….
      • Remember the relationship between the butterfly’s wings and a hurricane
      • Understand process of autocatalysis, where exponential effects can result from a small disturbance - “ping” the system. Aim for bifurcation, transformation into an unknown or death?
    • And now the strange attractor…..
      • We watch chaos and see rapidly moving lines zooming back and forward…time alters our understanding and the lines weave into a pattern, order comes from disorder. The shape means a strange attractor has happened, the order inherit in chaos is revealed.
      • Remember, in chaos we choose not to jump to conclusions. We see the shape but the systems of chaos may be incredibly complex, or incredibly simple
    • I’m sick of this esoteric*#@!! Tell me how I can tap into this strange attractor stuff?
      • Well its simple, some will say you need a Ph.d . Ignore them
      • Remember the question - can you get a sense of how things happen simply by observing what is happening?
      • In the seemingly madness, stress, and disorganisation of our social systems some maintain direction, a sense of purpose, and meaning, why??.
    • They have meaning, a sense of purpose, ... In the chaos, some thrive because they have the above as a point of reference, a strange attractor You the agent can facilitate the understanding of meaning as the attractor…...