Leading in Complexity with Jessica Conrad (Garfield Foundation)



when we're leading in complexity we really need to lean into a trial and error approach right because there's no there's no way of knowing in advance the best way to move forward in this video we're going to talk about the implementation phase of a social change project we're gonna have a guest speaker Jessica Conrad who is going to speak about the connection who is going to speak about the connection framework my Welsh is not very good and why social change work is complex and what we as social change leaders should do about it I'm here to talk with you today about complexity so it's not uncommon that you've probably heard people say oh our world is becoming increasingly complex as are the challenges we face but what does complexity really mean and what does it mean for our social change or social impact work so what's key to understanding the difference between a complex systems as opposed to simple complicated chaotic etc is really understanding the relationship between cause and effect so in complex systems this relationship between cause and effect we can't know in advance what effect our actions are going to have that's consider an example to make this a little bit more concrete so let's say that you are driving a car in heavy traffic and you want to make a lane change and given what we know about complex systems and their characteristics we could say that driving a car and making a lane change in heavy traffic is actually navigating a complex system so in the Kineton framework it advises the best way to make to approach problem solving given the system state right so the connivin framework suggests that we probe sense and then respond when we're working in complex systems so in the case of a lane change that would mean we would probe the situation so we would put our blinker on to indicate that we're going to make it change and make basically a small test to see whether or not our action is moving in the right direction right so after we probe and we pre know put on our blinker then sense into the environment what's happening in the environment are people making space for us to change lanes are they not you really have to pay attention of course as a driver to make sure that you're making you're executing this change in a safe manner and that you're responding to what's happening with the other cars around you and then the last thing that we do of course is then to act right so are we respond so if these cars hatt create space for you then you can amplify quote-unquote your action and move into that other Lane or let's say perhaps and the cars didn't see you and if you were to change lanes you would cause an accident so then of course you wouldn't you would not go ahead with that change and you try a different approach to changing a lane so in these complex challenges and every action is emergent right so none of this can be predicted in advance the behavior of the system can't be predicted in advance so what that means is that we can apply patterns and principles based on past observations to our decision-making but we have to apply them in every unique situation so what that means is that there's no predetermined set of steps that enable us to achieve a certain outcome in a complex system what does all of this mean for the work of social social change in social impact well it means that we're leading in complexity and when we're leading in complexity we really need to lean into a trial and error approach right because there's no there's no way of knowing in advance the best way to move forward so it's all about responding to in the environment and what we're seeing when we take a certain action isn't advancing us toward our goal if not okay then we need to adjust and take a different course of action right so in this domain of complexity there's no again there's no best path forward but we can use our instincts and we can really sense into and step in those actions that do lead us in the right direction you




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