“ We need to be looking at how the risks are entangled – we can’t think about any of them singly… “
Asha and I discuss the current meta-crisis, and the great uncertainty this holds : How can we influence the complex world we live in? What can we see from where we are? What levers do we have for action ?
Life is no longer stable, and organisations are still seeking to be ‘robust’, i.e. stable in an unstable world, so different approaches are required to influence any of this – so what can we do ?
We also unwrap complexity science, systems thinking and how complex adaptive systems (e.g. social groups, the stock market, generative AI) learn at the edge of chaos and discuss how we can have a stable economic system that can sustain, produce, and distribute what we need.
Asha shares her thought leadership as well as her operational experience in what this means for organisations and leaders, from her work with leaders across the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
– How can we influence the complex world we live in? What can we see from where we are? The current meta-crisis involves two large, intertwined risks: exponential tech (AI, biotech) and our industrial economy and its impact on the biosphere (climate change).
– Both are causing great uncertainty and mean that life is no longer stable, and organisations are seeking to be ‘robust’, i.e. stable in an unstable world, a technocracy. Different approaches are required to influence any of this.
– The (various models of) complexity give rise to systems thinking and complexity thinking:
• Systems thinking looks for patterns and is non-linear – a system is made up of different components with a shared purpose whereby the collective effect is different from the individual effect.
• Complexity thinking looks at the unexpected, unpredictable and random results (produced by complex systems), which are by definition emergent, not controllable and potentially undesirable.
– Complexity science looks at how complex adaptive systems (e.g. social groups, the stock market, generative AI) learn at the edge of chaos and asks how we can have a stable economic system that can sustain, produce, and distribute what we need.
– The concept of a regenerative economy is very interesting, but is it viable and suitable for complex adaptive systems? Our current system is enabling us to flourish at the edge of chaos.
– We need to consider alternatives to globalisation and our current financial system – complexity economics offers answers (circular economy, an ‘adjacent possible’, doughnut economics) but we are not ready to embrace them.
– Geopolitical will is required for change; we are experimenting on a small scale (particularly post-pandemic) but it is still a new, fragmented field; regenerative economics must evolve to be accessible for ordinary people.
– Everyone has personal agency and organisations have a role to play, but how do we navigate the landscape and put in place methods to do so? We must define the purpose and how to measure it, whereby quantifying it easier than qualifying it.
– Value is always contextual and depends on what is needed. There must be the requisite meaning and culture within an organisation for it to make a contribution to something more regenerative. Covid made us do things we thought we wouldn’t due to constraints, which can be likened to a river flowing faster when it’s narrow.
– Individual leaders must determine what is helpful in their context, such as collective sense-making with others; reconnecting with what is important; renewing personal power to find and speak with an authentic voice; improving impact; and coming together to act.
– We need intentionality, an ecology of (developmental) practice, renewal, and a means of taking one step at a time to reach the summit and experience that great feeling together.
Find out more about Asha and her work here :