Making Sense in a Complex World – References

I had a very amazing time last night at Sustentare Business School giving an evening lecture Making Sense in a Complex World. In preparation for this I have been writing many articles, and so I thought I would create a new article bringing these together for those of you who are interested.

I began by saying how wonderful it was to be back at Sustentare. This article offers some reflections on my time teaching there.

Reflections on my two days at Sustentare Business School

I discussed the notion of appearance, and Henri Bortoft’s new book Taking Appearance Seriously. The reason I talked about this book is that I teach Henri’s work on Goethe, European Philosophy at Sustentare and the dynamic way of thinking. This my review of his book:

Book Review Taking Appearance Seriously Henri Bortoft

I began the main body of my talk by discussing my career and what I had learnt working in the mobile internet and gaming industries. I talked about Design Thinking and how our work in the early 90s at BT Laboratories was the precursor to what we now described as user centred design. We used both this term and the customer experience to develop new technology based around human needs as opposed to developing products purely from a technical perspective. This then took my into a discussion of our divided brains and a look at a marketing campaign by Mercedes, mentioned in this article on Design Thinking:

If Design Thinking is Dead then What Next?

This article mentions Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo. I talked about how in an interview he said how studying the history of science is important when developing your creativity and understanding the creative process in innovation.

Here is an article about this, which has also been translated into Portuguese:

Why visionaries, design thinkers and business leaders need to study the history of science

Porque visionários, design thinkers e líderes de negócios precisam estudar a História da Ciência

As well as looking at great changes in our thinking in the history of science, I then placed this in the context of Brazilian history. We looked at a study from Exame magazine which showed how it takes 5 Brazilians to do the same work as one American, and that in Brazil one of the biggest problems is a lack of trust in people. Here is an article on this subject with that research.

Innovation, creativity, dialogue and trust: a recipe for success for Brazil

Of course Brazil has suffered greatly in terms of education. This article is an interview with Luís Norberto Pascoal, President of DPaschoal and is an amazing case study of how one Brazilian company is taking responsibility for education not just of its own employees, but of mechanics in Brazil and children too.

Dialogue on Leadership: Luís Norberto Pascoal, President of DPaschoal

I briefly mentioned that Bioeconomics could be the next great leap forward in science. Here is my article on the first Bioeconomics forum in Brazil. The article is important as it has many observations from Pedro Passo of Natura, a great systems thinker.

Brazil’s first forum on Bioeconomics

Jung's Mandala and the Four Ways of Knowing

At this point in the lecture I introduced Jung’s mandala and how it helps us to understand the four ways of knowing. I didn’t have time to discuss the four qualities of knowing, so here is my article which examines these themes in detail, and especially intuition.

Intuition, Paradigm Shifts and the Four Qualities of Knowing

Poluição do ar em São Paulo

I used Jung’s mandala to explore the thinking – feeling dimension, and used pollution in São Paulo as an example. Here is an article with my photographs which I showed, and which is discusses authentic and counterfeit wholes, a way of thinking about complex system introduced by Henri Bortoft in his previous book The Wholeness of Nature.

Authentic and counterfeit wholes in São Paulo


I looked at our changing world, how many are perceiving that it is becoming more chaotic, and how this is inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs coined Generation Flux by Fast Company magazine. I really enjoyed these series of articles, but I wrote two of my own with my own perspective on chaos, since although there is plenty of chaos in the world, there is also order, and living systems live on the edge of chaos, the point of maximum creativity in a dynamic system.

The Blind Spot of Generation Flux

This second article contains the video of starlings roosting which I showed at the start of my talk, as people were coming in to the lecture room.

Can Generation Flux Learn from Starlings?

This then allowed me to discuss how my teaching of complexity as well as chaos had radically transformed the thinking and world views of many of the students I had taught. I showed a couple of their quotes I had received as feedback, and this article contains a number more:

Changing Mental Models of Complexity

I wanted to use these quotes to really emphasise how that in order to really make sense of our world, we can not just stay in the left hemisphere of our brains. We have to discover new ways to explore the world so that we can perceive authentic systems in nature, organic, dynamic and living systems. We need to study these systems in order to be able to then be inspired by nature in the design of our future organisations, products and services.

Schumacher College

I closed my talk by launching a new initiative between Sustentare and Schumacher College in the UK. I am planning on taking a very small number of students from Sustentare to Schumacher College in the UK to really experience the transformational learning as part of their Enterprising Futures module in March. This is an extremely exciting initiative, and you can find out more here:

Enterprising Futures: A new partnership between Sustentare and Schumacher College

The course will be taught by Giles Hutchins and Alan Moore. Here are two articles, one by Alan and one by Giles.

Guest Blog: Alan Moore – The Radical Re-Design of Business

Giles Hutchins: Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation

One thing I have not mentioned is the fact that one of my slides was about the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking advert which is shown in Brazil. This final article of mine brings much of the strands together, mentioning my earlier career in the mobile internet industries, the stories we tell in marketing, and of my personal experiences having spent a year doing my masters degree at Schumacher. The article mentions Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and this is one well all have to take if we are to shake off our old paradigms, frameworks, theories and world views in order gain a much deeper and profound way of knowing the world. In order to really make sense of the world around us we need to see with new eyes, and this can only come when we take ourselves on this journey of transformation.

A slightly deeper look at Storytelling

I know there are a lot of links in this article, but I hope you enjoy exploring them as much as I have enjoyed writing them, and I hope within them you find a few nuggets of wisdom to help you on your path, what ever that path may be.

2 responses to “Making Sense in a Complex World – References

  1. Pingback: Science, Intuition and Gaia: Stephan Harding’s Animate Earth, 2nd Edition « The Transition of Consciousness·

  2. Pingback: 200th Post – How flippin big is Brazil??! Our mental models of maps « The Transition of Consciousness·

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