Exploring the Field

A diverse group of cross-disciplinary institutes, associations, professional communities and academic centers support the ongoing research, professional development and practices of the field.

The Plexus Institute http://www.plexusinstitute.org/ is an intertwined community of diverse people – scientists, business executives, nurses, artists, teachers, journalists, researchers, physicians, college students, community leaders, and thinkers –united in our determination to create something better. By learning from and with each other, we are mak-ing strides against some of the major problems afflicting society and human organizations.

The New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) http://www.necsi.edu/ is an independent academic research and educational institution with students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. In addition to the in-house research team, NECSI has co-faculty, students and affiliates from MIT, Harvard, Brandeis and other universities nationally and internationally. NECSI has been instrumental in the development of complex systems science and its applications. We study how interactions within a system lead to its behavioral patterns, and how the system interacts with its environment.

The Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences http://www.ccs.fau.edu/ at Florida Atlantic University was founded in August, 1985 by Dr. Scott Kelso when he assumed the University’s Eminent Scholar Chair in Science. The overarching objective of the Center is to understand the principles and mechanisms underlying complex behavior on all levels, from molecules and cells to whole brain functioning and even brains (people) working together.

The Center for the Study of Complex Systems (CSCS) http://www.centerforselforganizingleadership.com/index.shtml is a multi- and interdisciplinary program at the University of Michigan designed to encourage and facilitate research and education in the general area of nonlinear, dynamical and adaptive systems.

Complexity and Management is a well developed research area at the Business School of the University of Hertfordshire. Since the beginning of this work in 1992, complexity and management researchers have sought to create links between academic work and organisational practice using a complexity perspective in which the inevitable paradoxes and ambiguities of organisational life are not finally resolved but held in creative tension. This perspective draws on analogies from the natural complexity sciences, interpreted in the sphere of human action in terms of American pragmatism, European process sociology and group psychology, to develop new ways of understanding organisations and their management which emphasise self-organisation and emergence in processes of ordinary conversation and everyday politics.

The Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO) http://www.northwestern.edu/nico/index.html is a university-wide institute. It is made of distinguished and diverse group of faculty from all areas of the university, including engineering, swarm robotics, business, natural sciences, education, medicine, law, and the social sciences. NICO seeks to develop new connectionsbetween existing research and to create new knowledge at the boundaries of existing disciplines.

The Positive Deviance Initiative (PDI) http://www.positivedeviance.org/ was formed in 2001 under the direction of Jerry Sternin. Located at Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the PDI is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The objectives of the PDI are to document and share information on current global positive deviance (PD) projects, to explore new PD applications, and to expand the cadre PD practitioners and trainers.

The Santa Fe Institute http://www.santafe.edu/ is a transdisciplinary research community that expands the boundaries of scientific understanding.Its aim is to discover, comprehend, and communicate the common fundamental principles in complex physical, computational, biological, and social systems that underlie many of the most profound problems facing science and society today.

The Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ans/psychology/cogsci/chaos/ is an international forum that brings together researchers, theoreticians, and practitioners interested in applying dynamical systems theory, self- organization, neural nets, fractals, cellular automata, agent-based modeling, and related forms of chaos, catastrophes, bifurcations, nonlinear dynamics, and complexity theories to psychology and the life sciences. Our members hail from numerous specialties within psychology, other social sciences, and biology, physiology, neuroscience, mathematics, philosophy, physics, computer science, economics, education, management, political science, engineering, and the world of art.

The Human Systems Dynamics Institute http://www.hsdinstitute.org/ supports the emerging theory and practice of Human Systems Dynamics (HSD), a collection of concepts and tools that help make sense of the patterns that emerge from chaos when people work and play together in groups, families, organizations, and communities. HSD uses metaphors from the physical, mathematical, and computer sciences to help practitioners understand what is happening in the everyday dynamical interactions in organizations and groups. The concepts are grounded in science, but they continue to emerge as we explore the complex behaviors of human systems.


Emergence: Complexity & Organization

Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education

Books: Our current stack…on our desks, in our bags and on our “readers”

Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)

The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction

Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity

Terms of Engagement: New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations

The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care

Reinventing Organization Development




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