This is Human Current’s final episode. Angie and Haley share exciting news about the release of their new book, Our Human Current, which includes quotes, stories and insights from all Human Current episodes. They also share how grateful they feel toward their mentor Doug, their podcast guests and listeners, and everyone else who has supported their work over the past four years. For this final episode, they also share Haley’s interview with Phil Lawson, an inventor, author and systems thinker. Lawson describes his journey in seeing the world as holistic rather than mechanistic. He also shares how his SPHERIT system, which leverages AI, helps people navigate complex situations and achieve holistic growth.
We talked with writer, researcher, and coach, Jennifer Garvey Berger, about her passion for spreading ideas about complexity, leadership, adult development, and change “so they can do the good that the world needs them to do”. She explained that “there are ideas about the world that are unbearably useful, and yet they are often locked up away from the people who could best use them.” Berger’s work and research are driven by her desire to get ideas about complexity out into the world. She expressed to us that there is joy and beauty in complexity describing it as “a fundamental energy in the world” that we should try to understand the rules and learn to play inside them, rather than try to contain and control complexity.
Later in our conversation, Berger shared insights from her new book Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity, including the five mindtraps she believes are holding us back. These are: the desire for simple stories, our sense that we are right, our desire to get along with others in our group, our fixation with control, and our constant quest to protect and defend our egos. After describing why these natural impulses are hindering us, she stated, “if we can get a handle on some of these mindtraps, that redeploys our energy and lets us work with the system instead of continually fighting against it.”
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In this episode, we talked with professor, systems thinker, and aging researcher, Alan Cohen. Cohen described how controlled experiments continue to dominate the way biologist learn and think, he suggested “this paradigm of complex systems thinking is what can guide us to understand when those controlled experiments are formative or not. The more complex the system the more a lot of factors might be interacting and the more we have to doubt how generalizable our experimental results will be.” During our conversation, Cohen also shared some of the complex questions he is researching in his lab like, “can we integrate biomarkers (Cholesterol, Albumin, Hemoglobin, Glucose) together to get a good idea of what’s happening with the aging process? And what happens if, instead of looking at them [biomarkers] one at a time, we try to integrate their signal and look at what might be happening in terms of underlying processes?” He explained that people who have “high dis-regulation levels” are at greater risk of health complications and that his research on holistic physiology is uncovering fundamental processes in the biology of aging.
In this episode, Angie talked with Francesco Filia, CEO of Fasanara Capital, an unconventional, boutique asset management company which focuses on niche investment strategies and researches systemic risk. Filia shared his perspective on the way financial markets are conventionally analyzed saying, “analysis that is typically performed on financial markets, in my opinion, is quite outdated. It has not evolved and could learn so much from nearby fields such as complexity theory.” He described financial markets as ecosystems and continued to bring many different insights from complexity into the conversation, including how feedback loops in financial markets can create instability and lead to tipping points.
In this episode, Haley talks with whole systems design practitioner, educator, public speaker, regenerative development consultant, and author, Dr. Daniel Wahl. Wahl shares stories from his journey in learning about complexity science, holistic science, and whole systems health, and how this journey ultimately inspired him to study natural design. During his interview Wahl says, “for me design is human intention expressed through interactions and relationships. It touches almost everything.” He also expresses his love for biomimicry and talks about the importance of learning from Gaia.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with whole systems design practitioner, educator, public speaker, regenerative development consultant, and author, Dr. Daniel Wahl. Wahl shares some very important insights about the hidden dangers of paradigm shifting. He also talks about Donella Meadows' later work around dancing with systems.
In this episode, Angie talks with human-centric leader, futurist, and CEO of Toffler Associates, Deborah Westphal. Westphal shares the history and legacy of Toffler Associates and provides insights into their mission to help organizations understand the dynamics of change, plan their way to the future, and adapt. She explains four macro-drivers that are causing uncommon disruption and influencing everything we know about organizations. Westphal also explores very important questions and assumptions about power structures, technology, and societal values and advocates for leaders to focus on people, rather than processes or technology.
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In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with Deborah Westphal, a human-centric leader, futurist and the CEO of Toffler Associates. Westphal talks about the importance of reorganizing business for the future so there is less emphasis on processes and technology and more emphasis on people and the values and questions they bring into the workplace.
In this episode, Haley talks with Dr. Mihaela Ulieru, a scholar of distributed intelligent systems, Founder and President of the IMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy, and Chief Alchemist at Endor. Ulieru talks about the interplay between society and technology and its effects on our humanity. She shares many paradoxical examples for how technology, like artificial intelligence and blockchain, can help us transcend our limitations while also preying on them. Ulieru also urges leaders to educate themselves on the ways blockchain can streamline their business, stating it’s now “a matter of survival”.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with Dr. Mihaela Ulieru, a scholar of distributed intelligent systems. Ulieru is also Founder and President of the IMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy and Chief Alchemist at Endor. In this clip, Ulieru talks about how leaders can identify whether or not their business is "blockchainable" and shares examples for how blockchain technology has been successfully leveraged within different industries.
In this episode, Angie talks with Biophysical Scientist and author of Crashes, Crises, and Calamities, Dr. Len Fisher. Fisher gives many in-depth examples for how sudden change, or critical transitions, can happen within complex adaptive systems. He unpacks how interconnectedness, unintended consequences, runaway effects, and emergence all influence systemic collapse. Fisher also shares what is needed to effectively govern of complex systems.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with Biophysical Scientist, writer and broadcaster, Dr. Len Fisher. Fisher introduces the concept of systemic risk and critical transitions in complex adaptive systems.
In this episode, Haley talks with systems thinker, entrepreneur and pragmatic implementer, Tanuja Prasad. Prasad shares details about her relationship with complexity, including how it has shifted her perspective about life, work and science. She beautifully describes the complex, nonlinear nature of systems and explains many practical concepts and applications for people working with and living within systems. Prasad also shares her passion for complexity science applications within the social impact sector.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with systems thinker, entrepreneur, and pragmatic implementer, Tanuja Prasad. Prasad shares some of her favorite aspects of complexity science.
In this episode, Angie talks with author and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Complexity Space Consulting, Denise Easton. Easton talks about how she became introduced to complexity science and how it has influenced her life and her work. She shares the story behind her book, Complexity Works!: Influencing Pattern-Based Change in Teams & Organizations, which she co-authored with Lawrence Solow and explains how Complexity Space Consulting leverages a pattern-based approach to understanding and influencing organizational change. Easton also shares her hopes for the future of complexity science.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Complexity Space Consulting, Denise Easton. Easton shares how she defines and relates to complexity.
In this episode, Angie talks with systems educator and award-winning author, Linda Booth Sweeney. Booth Sweeney describes her work as a systems educator and explains why understanding systems is so important. She shares many wonderful examples and stories of patterns (and feedback loops) that show up in everyday life and explains how seeing a pattern is the very first step toward influencing change. Booth Sweeney also talks about her books and why storytelling is such an instrumental tool in her work.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with systems educator and author, Linda Booth Sweeney. Booth Sweeney shares the importance of learning about the nature of systems and working with them, not against them. "People who have a concept of the whole can do very fortunate things." — Linda Booth Sweeney
In this episode, Haley talks with Albert-László Barabási. Barabasi is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research. He is also a renowned author of several books including his newly released book, The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, which he discusses in-depth during his interview. Barabási shares key takeaways and important lessons from his new book and research on the science of success. He also gives us insights from his journey of learning about and pioneering the young field of network science and shares his hopes for the future of this field.
In this episode preview, we share a clip from our interview with Albert-László Barabási. Barabási is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research. He is also a renowned author of several books including: Network Science; Linked: The New Science of Networks; Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do; The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. In this brief clip, Barabási describes the fruitful relationship between complexity science and network science.
In this episode, Haley talks with Yaneer Bar-Yam, President of the New England Complex Systems Institute, and Alexander Siegenfeld, a PhD physics student at MIT, about their collaborative research paper entitled: Negative Representation and Instability in Democratic Elections. They each discuss why the current political climate in the U.S. is so polarized and unstable and explore how low voter turnout leads to negative representation and further instability. Describing insights from their research, they share the importance of increasing voter turnout and weakening the two party system (through methods like ranked choice voting) in order to achieve a more stable democracy.
In this episode, Angie and Haley share their final four interviews recorded at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems. These interviews include: Brad Glisson, co-founder of Thoughtblox; Liz Johnson, Managing Editor for the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems; Vinesh Raja, Bioinformatician and Software Engineer; Rhys Lindmark, podcaster and Head of Community and Long-Term Societal Impact at MIT Media Lab. Each of their stories weave together some of the shared values, ideas, and visions for the growing field of complex system science. And to wrap up this series on the conference, Haley and Rhys Lindmark talk about some their favorite highlights and share some key takeaways. (Episode cover image by JK Rofling.)
In this episode, Angie talks with Dr. Stephan Harding who is an ecologist, author and senior lecturer and founding member of Schumacher College. Dr. Harding discusses his passion for the Earth and why he believes so deeply in helping others feel more connected to our planet. He describes his role with Schumacher College and how the school offers unique learning experiences to help students connect with and learn from nature. Dr. Harding shares details about his Holistic Science course, which integrates complexity theory, Gaia theory and deep ecology. He also explores how more expansive approaches to science, which integrate diverse methods of inquiry (beyond reason), can help us better understand the implications of complex problems like climate change. Lastly, Dr. Harding talks about his book, Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia, in which he integrates science, poetry and meditative practices to inspire people to form a participatory relationship with nature.
In this episode, Angie and Haley share four interviews recorded at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems. These interviews include: Javier Borondo, Research Scientist and CTO of AGrowingData; Rosa Benito, Physics Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid; Victor Dossetti, Research Scientist and Professor at Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla; Roozbeh Daneshvar, Blockchain Software Engineer at IBM. Each of the experiences they share highlight various research, applications, and opportunities in the field of complex system science. (Episode cover image by JK Rofling)
In this episode, Haley interviews theoretical biologist and author, Josh Mitteldorf, at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems. Mitteldorf talks about the evolutionary process, including gene sharing, cooperation, and natural selection. He also shares what inspired his book, Cracking the Aging Code, and why biology needs holism.