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Supporting Stories:

The following pointers are to stories written by others that support Tipu Ake thinking. They are available on the websites referenced. These are mostly information sharing sites and normally also include many other stories that can be freely accessed. The sections in italics are comments relating to Tipu Ake thinking. See also Links to other Organisations

Back-to-nature way to herd cats ( Leadership)

Need a new way to get things done? Look to life and death in nature, reports Vicki Jayne.

A good team can achieve a lot more than the summed efforts of its individual members. That, at least, is how it's supposed to happen in the ideal work world.Reality is usually messier. Finding the right sort of glue to meld a disparate bunch of egos into some kind of coordinated work "force" is the subject of much management theory. One writer notably compared it to "herding cats".

Part of the problem is that we live in an increasingly individualistic society. Its natural tendency is not to call on collective wisdom but to throw up project "heroes" - individuals who have sufficient know-how and personal clout to get and keep the wheels of a particular enterprise turning. While that might get things done, it has serious pitfalls. If team members feel their contributions are not being valued or, worse, someone else is claiming credit for them, the whole enterprise loses energy or becomes prone to sabotage.

Lack of leadership depth is also an issue. If the "hero" goes AWOL for whatever reason, the enterprise risks losing traction or even complete derailment.Which is why managers should be interested in the story of how a small, Central North Island school transformed itself from an educational disaster zone into a learning environment that consistently nurtures student success ………….

This story was written by Vicki Jayne about Tipu Ake just after its launch was published by the New Zealand Herald on Jan 16 2002. It can be found here

If you want to know more about herding cats, try downloading the video clip commercial from the EDS site. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4057591681481453187

Capitalising on the Spirit

The Days when businesses could operate solely on self- interest, short-term gain and with an eye on the bottom line are numbered as customers, employees and shareholders insist on knowing what companies are doing in the world

There is a growing interest in what is being called 'spiritual capital'. Financial planner, chartered accountant and managing director of Money Matters and Rodger Spiller & Associates, Dr Rodger Spiller, says spiritual capital is the value reflected in a business's commitment to quality of life. "It is a bit of an intangible - like brand worth," he says. "It's something that helps companies be better able to attract customers and employees. "It's about focusing on quality of life and sustainability. These are things that citizens are getting more aware of and are seeing as more important." ......

.... Rodger points out that wealth is being redefined but, in some ways, it's reverting to its original meaning. According to Wikipedia, wealth comes from the old English word "weal", meaning "well-being" or "welfare", and the term was originally an adjective used to describe the possession of such qualities. "Spiritual capital reflects the original definition of wealth as wellbeing - not just money," Rodger says. "It's about individuals and businesses being environmentally and socially responsible and wanting to improve wellbeing for all. "Employees want to work for companies that take into account these things. Interestingly, companies with this broader perspective who look to enhancing quality of life are doing better financially....

..... Looking at New Zealand particularly, Chellie Spiller, who holds a masters degree in international relations and is researching a PhD in business, says this country has a huge asset in enhancing spiritual capital: the Maori culture. Spiller, of Ngati Kahungunu descent, says from a Maori perspective, spiritual capital enhances sustainability. "It's about the fundamental questions of life. "She says the Maori concept of well being or ora, which the online Maori dictionary defines as: "1. be alive, well, safe, cured, recovered, healthy, fit. 2. (verb) to survive", explains it well by providing the reason for being. Ora reflects the purpose that Maori and many Maori businesses have of enhancing quality of life. Maori business principles demonstrate to all businesses how spiritual capital can be implemented.....

This story written by Val Leverson for the Employment Section of the NZ Herald on Oct 3 2007 can be found in full here. Both Roger and Chellie Spiller attended a Tipu Ake / Kaitiakitanga retreat in Te Whaiti with Hunter Lovins on Natural Capital in July 2006. www.kaitiakitanga.net/hunterlovins

Shared Leadership

Leadership can be explored as a social process - something that happens between people. It is not so much what leaders do, as something that arises out of social relationships. As such it does not depend on one person, but on how people act together to make sense of the situations that face them. It is happening all the time.

Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith from the YMCA George William College in London explore the theory and practice of shared leadership - and the significance of ethical practice.

"The group took over. There was a whole group leadership thing. I don't think leadership's necessarily about one person - everyone has the qualities of being a leader or taking some form of responsibility in their lives, and sometimes that's a whole group ethos. I want to work in a situation where people can take on roles and responsibilities, tasks, whatever they want to do. As long as I can assist in this, rather than being the forerunning force taking it over, then that's what I'm aiming for."

Shared Leadership is an essential concept of Tipu Ake, so we recommend you learn more about it by reading the remainder of this article and much more on the home of Informal Education website INFED at http://www.infed.org/leadership/shared_leadership.htm

Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities

The mission of the Centre for Ecoliteracy is to foster ecological Literacy in K-12 Education. Being literate or "ecoliterate" means understanding the principles of organisation of ecological communities ( i.e. ecosystems) and using those principles for creating sustainable human communities. In particular we believe that the pribciples of ecology should be the guiding principles for creating sustainable learning communities. In other words, ecoliteracy offers an ecological framework for educational reform.

Ecology from the Greek word aikas ("household"), is the study of the relationships that interlink all members of the Earth Household. eEcocological thinking therefore is thinking in terms of relationships, connectedness nd context. In science this kind of thinking known as systems thinking.

Every Living System is a Network

Read the full article by Fitjof Capra at http://www.ecoliteracy.org/publications/pdf/creativity.pdf

(Also check out the many other articles by Fritjof Capra and many others on the Center for Ecoliteracy website which is dedicated to education for sustainable living. www.ecoliteracy.org including his observations on systems thinking )

This relates to a new view of Tipu Ake from a Learning perspective "Learning - Nature's Way"


Let us begin with Courage (Collective Cooperation)

The word En'owkin comes from the high language of the Okanagan people and has its origin in a philosophy perfected to nurture voluntary cooperation, an essential foundation for everyday living.

Jeanette Armstrong is an Okanagan Indian born on the Penticton Indian Reserve in British Columbia where she lived most of her life. She shares this concept on the ecoliteracy website http://www.ecoliteracy.org/publications/pdf/jarmstrong_letusbegin.pdf

To the Okanagan People, as to all peoples practicing bio-regionally self sufficient economies, the knowledge that the total community must be engaged in order to attain sustainability is a result of the natural process of survival. The practical aspects of willing teamwork within a whole-community system clearly emerged from experience delineated but necessity. However the word cooperation is insufficient to describe the organic nature by which members continue to cultivate the principles basic to care-taking one another and other life forms, well beyond necessity......

...Let us begin with courage without limitations and we will come up with some surprising solutions.

This story speaks of the courage required to question our assumptions about organisation, structures, leadership, decisionmaking and governance that have dominated our western world view. When we do this we start to discover and utilise our collective wisdom. (Also check out the many other articles by Fritjof Capra and many others on the Center for Ecoliteracy website which is dedicated to education for sustainable living. www.ecoliteracy.org )

What is Collective Wisdom?

So, what is collective wisdom - the subject of our conference? I would like to name just a few traits.

1. With collective wisdom it’s about something apparently paradoxical.
Summed up, collective wisdom can be described this way: “Together we know more.” If an issue important to all of us exercises the effect of an “attractor” and gathers the group around it, a third thing, something new, can take shape in our midst which is more than the sum of all the individuals, and which creates a special connection among us.

While the individual steps back a bit and becomes part of the larger commonality, he or she simultaneously lights up in his or her own individual uniqueness, irreplaceability, and specialness. The conscious experience of collective wisdom and the conscious experience then of unmistakably becoming ourselves, are one process and one movement......

2. Collective wisdom doesn’t recognize any particular experts –
there are only experts. Collective wisdom can more easily arise where we lower or eliminate the often so restrictive barriers based on hierarchy, or those based on ethnic or religious affiliation.

Of course we’re very happy here to have our many presenter experts, and we’re curious about their knowledge, their experience, and their inspiration. But at the level of collective wisdom there are no status or knowledge differences: We’re all equal – and that is a beautiful challenge for all of us! If we tend to see ourselves as “smaller” and others as “bigger,” then we can start to play here by giving up these postures. If we’re in positions of leadership, or tend to direct and guide others, then we can use this ability here to encourage others to equality, and to challenge them to become aware of their own potential for collective wisdom.

Read the full story at http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/mahr_speech_english.htm It was the opening speech given by Dr. Albrecht Mahr at the Conference on Collective Wisdom, April 28-30, 2006 Wurzburg, Germany. Convened and designed by Dr. Albrecht and Brigitta Mahr, the Collective Wisdom Conference was a collaboration of ISAIL, the Institute for Systemic Constellations and Integral Solutions, FPA, the Research Group on Political Constellations, and Friendship Across Borders, a peace project with young Germans, Israelis, and Palestinians.

Growing and utilising Collective Wisdom is the central concept of Tipu Ake, so we recommend you learn more about it on the Collective Wisdom Initiative website www.collectivewisdominitiative.org

Hive Of Activity (Organic Organisational models)

Lessons from honey bees can help us draw 'nectar' from our hive of activity.

Dr Roger Booth, Associate Professor of Immunology and Health Psychology, Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, The University of Auckland tells the human story of a biological basis for optimal creativity.When we explore the world around us, we engage in conversations to explain the things we observe.

The sort of stories we invent through these conversations are supremely powerful because they influence not only how we behave and how we work, but also what we think and even what we are capable of percieving. In order to make coherent sense of our world we often take stories that explain one area and adapt them to explain another area. For example, our understanding of business and commerce draws heavily on theories about the biological world, which in turn, are shaped by many concepts from physics and engineering. Because these conversations shape our lives, changing them radically alters how we live and work. It is a little like shaking up a kaleidoscope. The pieces are all still there but, as they settle down, a whole new pattern emerges and we perceive new meanings in their relationship.

"Bees and termites can create miracles by working together with reverence - humans even more so. Humans have evolved to live cooperatively with other humans. This requires acceptance of others and the authentic contribution they make to our lives"

This article with its focus on Cooperation, Self Organisation and Networking reinforces Tipu Ake thinking in the language of Biology. See the full story in pdf format. You may need to download Acrobat Reader to view it.

SEE ALSO: The Bumble Bee - Ken Thompson's shared know-how on team dynamics, virtual collaboration and bioteaming at www.bioteams.com/ There you can find a Videoclip "Why teams dont work and why bioteams do"

Biomimicry – An introduction to natural intelligence

All organisms ~ plants, animals, fungi, algae, and bacteria ~ must grow, maintain, feed, and reproduce to ensure their short-term and long-term sustainability.

The same can be said for humans. But the way industrial humans have gone about meeting their needs is quite different from the way other organisms survive, and therein lies the root of our sustainability crisis.

Non-human organisms, by and large, meet their basic life requisites within the confines and constraints of their environment. Within that habitat context, they either adapt, migrate, or go extinct. …..

Janine Benyus is the author of Biomimicry. You can read the rest of the story and learn about this concept at the following address: http://www.biomimicry.org/biom_project.html

Dancing With Systems

The Dance

1. Get the beat.
2. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
3. Expose your mental models to the open air.
4. Stay humble. Stay a learner.
5. Honor and protect information.
6. Locate responsibility in the system.
7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
8. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
9. Go for the good of the whole.
10. Expand time horizons.
11. Expand thought horizons.
12. Expand the boundary of caring.
13. Celebrate complexity.
14. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.

People who are raised in the industrial world and who get enthused about systems thinking are likely to make a terrible mistake. They are likely to assume that here, in systems analysis, in interconnection and complication, in the power of the computer, here at last, is the key to prediction and control. This mistake is likely because the mindset of the industrial world assumes that there is a key to prediction and control.....

For those who stake their identity on the role of omniscient conqueror, the uncertainty exposed by systems thinking is hard to take. If you can't understand, predict, and control, what is there to do? ....

Systems thinking leads to another conclusion–however, waiting, shining, obvious as soon as we stop being blinded by the illusion of control. It says that there is plenty to do, of a different sort of "doing." The future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. Systems can't be controlled, but they can be designed and redesigned. We can't surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them. We can't impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.

Read the full article by the Late Donella Meadows at www.sustainabilityinstitute.org/pubs/Dancing.html
See also much more of her work archived at http://sustainabilityinstitute.org/dhm_archive/

Earthdance - Living Systems in Evolution

This book is a work of philosophy in the original sense of a search for wisdom, for practical guidance in human affairs through understanding the natural order of the cosmos to which we belong. It bears little resemblance to what we have come to call philosophy since that effort was separated from natural science and became more an intellectual exercise in understanding than a practical guide for living. To find meaning and guidance in nature, I integrated my personal experience of it with those scientific accounts that seemed to best fit it. From this synthesis, meaning and lessons for humanity emerged freely. I wrote the original version in the peaceful, natural setting of a tiny old village on a small pine-forested Greek island, where I could consider the research and debates of scientists, historians, and philosophers, then test them against the natural world I was trying to understand.

Putting into simple words the specialized technical language of scientists and winding my way through labyrinths of philosophic prose, I gradually simplified the story of the origins and nature of our planet within the larger cosmos, and of our human origins, nature, and history within the larger being of this planet.

The Gaia hypothesis, now Gaia theory, of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis -- the theory that our planet and its creatures constitute a single self-regulating system that is in fact a great living being -- is the conception of physical reality in which my philosophy is rooted. Quite simply, it makes more sense on all levels -- intuitive, experiential, scientific, philosophical, spiritual and even aesthetic and ethical -- than any other conception I know. And I have come to believe, in the course of this work, that this conception contains profound and pressing implications for all humans.

Elizabet Sahtouris PhD is a geobiologist. You can read her book Earthdance on the web at http://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/Erthdnce/

You can also watch her on video in conversation with Kiwi and other youth from the Digital Earth Conference 2007 San Francisco - 30 minutes into the videoclip at http://thelongsong.com/bridge/DE07%20Digital%20Dialogue%203%20%20v1%20%20for%20web.wmv

Systems Thinking and Common Ground (NZ)

The author - a professional engineer - has for many years been concerned about an apparently disfunctional relationship between the (mainly British-origin) Pakeha settler population of Aotearoa/ New Zealand and the indigenous Maori (who currently comprise around 15% of the population). This has been particularly marked in the case of issues of sustainability in the use of land and resources for human development. Both sides have worked to address the problem, but a consensus position is yet to be reached. In this paper it is pointed out that if the outcomes of modern systems-based transdisciplinary scientific thinking on sustainability are carefully compared to the outcomes of indigenous traditional thinking on the topic, a remarkable degree of agreement becomes evident, and this could provide the basis for policy development.

Read the full paper by Dr John Peet Dept of Chemical and Process Engineering (retired), University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ published in the International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research Vol 1 No 1 2006 at http://www.ijtr.org/Vol%201%20No1/6.%20Peet_IJTR_Article_Vol1_No1.pdf

See also the Story on Kaitiakitanga by Andree Matieu on the Kaitiakitanga Website and the paper by Te Kipa Kepa Brian Morgan, University of Auckland Engineering School - "A Tangata Whanua perspective on Sustainability using the Mauri Model"

Extremophiles - The Future of Corporate and Executive Development? (Organic survival strategies)

Kevin Wheeler, President Global Learning Resources Pty USA, ignited great interest with this keynote topic at the Human Resource Institute Conference in Wellington NZ on 12/09/2002

Nature's extremophiles live in the harshest environments on Earth where life previously was considered impossible. Human counterparts of the extremophile are people and organisations that defy the odds by not only surviving but also thriving in threatening times. The extremophile's toolkit contains an array of adaptive strategies that enable instant response to sudden changes and slow evolution to stay ahead of long-term shifts in the environment. Extremophile leaders and organisations excel at readiness so they can turn threats into opportunities.

Based on research conducted over then past two years by Global Learning Resources, Eileen Clegg and the Institute for the Future, this fast-paced briefing introduces some of the influences and trends that are changing how we develop the management and leadership team of organisations.
Leaders are not created magically but emerge over time from a continuous process of being challenged, being weeded out by the challenges or by meeting the challenges, reflecting on what was learned and applying it to the next challenge. Leadership teams that are seldom challenged, who do not reflect on the reasons for success or failure or that turn over quickly; do not perform well. Every organisation that is concerned with good leadership should develop a variety of tools to challenge, stimulate, provoke and test the leadership team. For more information on this thinking see an article by Eileen Clegg "How extremophiles Thrive in Impossible Conditions: Lessons for Business from Natures Super Survivors http://www.human-landscaping.com/clegg/thrive.html. For even more, search the web using the keywords extremophile and meme

Much of this thinking attempts to relate extremophile responses to the behaviour of a leader in an organisations, but our human concept of an individual leader is a somewhat foreign one in nature. Many who attended the presentation on Tipu Ake at the same conference, saw the Te Whaiti school with its shared and collective leadership as a very strong a demonstrator of the extremophile metaphor.

Another aspect of extremophile research includes Memes - a self-reproducing and contagious idea, thought structure, or other information pattern which is propagated in ways similar to that of a gene [or a virus]. Individual slogans, catchphrases, melodies, icons, inventions, ideologies, religions,and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic. (see Encyclopedia Galactica http://third-man.com/orions_arm/eg/m/Me-Mh.html) At Te Whaiti memes circulate freely in stories and proverbs e.g.

"The biggest enemy we face is the one within us, when we conquer that one the rest are easy", "Courage is a magnet, the most attractive attribute - one person with courage is a majority", "There is no room for egos here, you need to quickly get past that stage and share the credit", "We have a well used Maori proverb - A kumara never calls itself sweet, that's for the eaters to say", "Those who lead give sight to those who follow; those behind give life to those ahead.: "Leadership is not the same as the leader, anyone can have it and it floats back and forth all the time", " We leave our hats [status] at the door", "My strength is not from myself alone, but from the strength of the group", "With my basket and your basket we all will be satisfied", "we have no room for matapiko (stingy) gatekeepers", "Search for the path that is right for you". "When you focus on outcomes, nothing becomes a barrier",,,,,

The Tipu Ake Lifecycle captures, replicates and shares these and many other memes.

Chaos without the math; (Chaos and Complexity)

Judy Petree, Wade Forest University North Carolina explains

1 The History of Chaos: Who found it, What are they doing with it, what's next?
2 Instability What causes it?
3 The strange attractor What takes over?
4 Phase transition What happens at decision time?
5 Deep Chaos To be or not to be?
6 Self Organisation What is this new complexity?
7 Conclusion How can we find it and use it?

Find the full story on Judy Petree's Pages http://www.wfu.edu/~petrejh4/chaosind.htm "Chaos without the math" at Wade Forest University, USA.

Mathematicians are discovering that chaos - the place where everything seems to be mixed up in a state of apparent instability, high variability and interconnectness is described by a quite simple repetitively applied mathematical equations (eg distorted feedback - X2 +C=X) that are very dependent on their initial conditions. One of these is the Mandelbrott set. An example is the world's weather where major effects and instability can be triggered by very small changes to initial conditions. In times of order there is a stable "attractor" that holds the system steady, but as we move towards disorder (more variation) a frequency doubling is observed , until the system becomes chaotic. The Lorenz Strange Attractor describes and drives this seemingly disordered and random state. Even within this apparent chaos we observe some islands of order - examples are the eddies in turbulent (chaotic) flow (in a wild river, cloud formation or weather pattern that emerge interconnect and self-organise to grow into a more more predictable state.

These equations manifest themselves as complex, very interconnected and repetitive patterns - Whereas a line drawn in a circle looks like a straight line as you get closer and closer to it to it, a straight line is a shape that still looks straight the closer you get to it. Nature has no straight lines - it is non-linear. Fractal Geometry is the study of the complex non-linear mathematical patterns patterns that are rampant in nature which have the characteristic of continually repeating the more you magnify them. If you distort these patterns mathematically (Afine transformation), then drive them randomly, they revert back to the original stable pattern.

In the patterns that the mathematical models of chaos generate, we recognise many of the familiar repeating images of nature. eg cloud formations, waves, growth forms eg fern leaf, (koru pattern) and even the Tipu Ake logo which is taken from the highly repetitive non linear ancient Maori kowhaiwhai patterns. The Tipu Ake Lifecycle www.tipuake.org.nz level 0 - "Undercurrents" is about going down into this chaos, capturing it's energy and diversity then finding and growing the new and powerful order in it.

Ref video Understanding Chaos -The theory which imposes order within disorder

Systems Thinking:

Systems: A system is an entity which maintains its existence through the mutual interaction of its parts. The key emphasis here is one of "mutual interaction," in that something is occurring between the parts, over time, which maintains the system. A system is different than a heap or a collection, mostly. Associated with the idea of system is a principle called emergence. From the mutual interaction of the parts of a system there arise characteristics which can not be found as characteristic of any of the individual parts. One has to study the system to get a true understanding of "wetness". Studying the parts will not provide an appropriate understanding.

From website http://www.systems-thinking.org/ compiled by Gene Bellinger which includes much more, including:

Management and Leadership - a Systemic Perspective:
My contention is that the traditional activity of management, i.e., planning, organizing, directing, and controlling, is essentially the management of balancing structures, while leadership, i.e., challenge the process, inspire shared vision, enable others to act, model the way, and encourage the heart is essentially represents the enabling of reinforcing structures ... read on

Knowledge Management - Bah Humbug!
Knowledge Management is a recent area of interest for me. An area that got my attention because of some connections made during my continuing study of systems. I have pondered the relationship between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom for some time and from a systems perspective made the following connection ... read on


From Lifecycle to Ecocycle: (Growth and Renewal)

Renewal via Destruction and Encouraging Diversity for Sustainability

Brenda Zimmerman, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada.

The evolution and sustainability of complex adaptive systems includes the natural and necessary processes of destruction and renewal. The ecocycle framework invites leaders to think about what they need to deliberately destroy or stop doing to facilitate the renewal of their work in health care. Drawing from biological systems, the ecocycle also suggests a need for a "healthy" organization or system to have parts (or aspects) of the organization in every phase of the ecocycle. Diversity in the phases of ecocycle is crucial for the sustainability of a complex adaptive system.

The Organic Cycle and the inter-connectiveness of all life with death and renewal is an essential concept embraced by Tipu Ake, so we recommend you learn more about it by reading the remainder of this article and much more about the Theory of Complexity and Chaos on the Plexus Institute website at http://www.plexusinstitute.com/edgeware/archive/think/main_aides9.html

New Strategies for Managing Complex Projects

The sciences of biology and physics provide clues for successfully managing projects in today's environment…

Today's projects are different - they often involve such intricate stakeholder interdependencies that no one person can know them all. The project manager faced with this over-whelming degree of interconnections is probably working in a complex system where expertise and experience may not be enough.……Much of our thinking about complex systems comes to us from quantum physics and biology.

Let's explore three principals of complex systems and their implications for managing complex projects:· There is no meaning in isolation· Complex systems evolve from simple rules· To understand a complex system, study its complexity.

" A phenomenon occurs when knowledgeable, involved people come together and think together. They create a kind of collective knowing"

This story by Donna Robbins was published in PM Network April 2001, the magazine of the Project Management Institute and can be found in full at http://www.the-robbins-group.com.


Leading Living Organisations:

The organisations that will thrive in this new century are the ones that realise we are moving from an industrial model of organisation that is reductionalist, linear and narrowly disciplined to a biological model that is more nuanced and pluralistic and therefore more comfortable with uncertainty, surprise and constant change. This shift to aan ecological perspective is more in tune with relationships than with things. It represents the movement towards seeing the organisation as a lunimous living community which takes nature as its model and , as such, is infinately improvisional, seeing learning and adaptation as a natural part of its ongoing evolution.

This story about "Learning to Think as Nature Thinks" by Michael Jones ( pre -publication draft April 2001) is found at www.pianoscapes.com/LLOmain.html


The Living Organisation:

Companies are Groups of people, not machines, so if you are having organisational problems, Dr Leandro Herrero suggests it might be time to call in a biologist.

Here you will find references to the biological model thinking of Fritjof Capra in his book " The hidden connections, a science for sustainable living" in which he reminds us "A machine can be controlled, a living system can only be disturbed".

This story was published in Script magazine June 2002. Dr Heandro Herrero heads The Chalfont Project and is a visiting professor at DUXX Graduate School of Business Leadership, Mexico.

The full article is found at: http://www.thechalfontproject.com/pdfs/services/Organisational_Innovation/The_living_organisation.pdf

A unified open systems model for explaining organisational change

Doy Sundarasaradula - School of Economics and Information Systems, University of Wollongong
Helen Hasan - School of Economics and Information Systems, University of Wollongong

Abstract: This paper presents an approach to developing a unified conceptual model to describe and explain change in organisations, viewed as complex systems. The authors propose a model that brings together the traditional open systems model (based on principles of homeostasis, steady state, and cybernetics) and the dissipative systems model (based on thermodynamic non-equilibrium principles) to explain distinctively different phases of change. Gradual and incremental change can be explained by using the traditional open systems model, whereas dramatic and discontinuous change can be explained by the adoption of the dissipative systems model. These two phases of change occur naturally, depending on the nature and pattern of external and internal disturbances. Since the implementation of any information system involves some degree of organisational change, it would be valuable to the IS community to more clearly understand organisational change processes, thereby increasing the possibility of success.

Find the full paper at http://epress.anu.edu.au/info_systems/mobile_devices/ch11.html#d0e4727

This is chapter 11 of a much larger volume containing the papers presented at the Information Systems Foundations: Constructing and Criticising Workshop at The Australian National University from 16 to 17 July 2004. http://epress.anu.edu.au/info_systems/mobile_devices/index.html

Strategic knowledge sharing: a small-worlds perspective (Chapter 10) by Mike Metcalfe, School of Management, University of South Australia

This paper is about designing knowledge sharing in wicked systems. The perspective the paper takes is that of the self-organising ‘small-worlds’ phenomenon. Specifically, this paper argues that strategic knowledge sharing can be viewed as designing small-worlds networks so as to allow a wicked socio-technical system to self organise a coordinated strategic response to unpredictable environmental changes. The evidence used comes from the softer systems literature, biology (insect) literature and social-network literature.

Reflection in self-organised systems (Chapter 9) by Maureen Lynch and Carmen Johan, School of Information Systems, University of South Australia

Organisations operating in a dynamic environment need to be able to detect and respond to changes both internal and external. One effective decision making approach is self-organisation, which is appropriate where there is a state of constant awareness of the working environment and flexibility so that decision-making groups are formed spontaneously to solve problems and incorporate changes. Decision-making from this perspective is done on three levels: individual, group or cluster, and organisational

Co-Creative Power

We’re in a mess because we’re trying to go it alone. When there were fewer of us on the planet, when our technology was less potent, and when the pace of change was slower, the earth and our human institutions seemed relatively resilient, capable of adapting and responding to new challenges and opportunities. The impact of unilateral decisions by business, government, civic society or nations seemed either minimal or were at least tolerable by others. Today’s reality is vastly different. The world we live in is smaller, more interconnected, and fragile. Decisions and actions in any sector can potentially affect the well-being of whole communities and ecological systems. We no longer have the luxury to go it alone.

Finding a way out of the mess requires tapping the collective intelligence of the whole. We are witnessing a shift in the way corporations, governments, and civic society organizations engage to tackle complex, controversial issues. Over the past two decades, we have seen a demise of one-way ‘public relations’ campaigns and the rise of consultation and more recently multi-stakeholder dialogue. On the horizon is a new form of interaction whereby networks of stakeholders come together to learn and innovate at a systems level. Often the focus is on the sustainability of bio-regions or communities. While stakeholder network engagement is still relatively rare, it is based on a principle of co-creative power which allows diverse groups to solve complex, cross boundary problems or “messes”.

Read the whole story by Ann Svendsen & Myriam Laberge, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada on the The Collective Wisdom Initiative website at: http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/laberge_wholesystems.htm

Organic Evaluation at Santropol Roulant

If you happened to be strolling down the eastern slope of Montreal's Mont Royal one afternoon and walked down Duluth Street for a block or two, you would find yourself passing by a building covered by green graffiti. If you timed your walk just right you would the smell of a simmering stew, or pasta sauce, or fish, or steamed carrots or cake coming from the inviting looking kitchen. If you were fortunate enough to arrive at exactly 3:00 pm, you would be likely to see a dozen or so youngish people swinging sacks of hot meals onto their backs and happily walking, cycling, or driving off in all directions. ... Since 1995 Santropol Roulant has been bringing people together across generations and cultures through innovative approaches to community health... with and intergeneration meals on wheels programme.

.. At Santropol Roulant, evaluation is not a linear function at all. Nor is it separate from our ultimate mission. It is a particular way of being together and bringing people together and inviting people in ... This is the key element to our to our organizational culture and structure.

Traditional Evaluation Organic Evaluation
Gather Data Ask Questions
Analyze Data Reflect Together
Disseminate Share
Implement Organisational Change Efforts Experiment and Explore

Read the whole story by Vanessa Reid, Rennie Nilsson, Stephanie Garrow and Allison Griffith on the Santropol Roualnt website at http://www.santropolroulant.org/images/Organic%20Evaluation.pdf

Visit their website

Not Just Trees in the Ground

The Social and Economic Benefits of Community-led conservation projects

This report is about how New Zealanders lives improve when they start caring for their environment

We knew through anecdotes that when communities decided to improve their environment, their lives improved. But we didn’t have anything to back this up apart from stories from the projects. They were great stories, but still, just stories. So we commissioned Corydon Consultants to produce a qualitative report to analyse the social and economic benefits of community-led conservation projects. The result is Not Just Trees in the Ground.

 It examines three community-led conservation projects that have been part-funded by WWF-New Zealand’s Habitat Protection Fund, and documents exactly what the benefits have been to people’s livelihoods and to their social networks.

To download your own copy of a copy of Not Just Trees in the Ground go to the WWF World Wildlife Fund (NZ) website

This report is an excellent study of Systems Thinking in action at a local level where everythigh is interconnected so thone action in one area leverages outcomes in many others.

The report states many times that none of the three projects had mechanisms in place to measure the environmental outcomes from these projects let alone the social or economic ones. From a Tipu Ake perspectative that indicates a pre-occupation with external analytical evaluation measures. Participants in communites undertaking such projects describe outcomes in rich stories; including the learning and growth of indiviuduals, the renewed existance of things like fish in the harbours and surfers swimming without getting rashes. Refer to the video from Whaingaroa. Perhaps the envaluation mechanisms mainly have have value for external funders who tend to see only the trees and often not the roots under the ground with the mycorrycal fungi networds extend to support them. See the story on organic evaluation above from Santropol Roulant for some very different options.

Bringing Schools Back to Life: Schools as Living Systems

We speak so easily these days of systems -- systems thinking, systems change, connectivity, networks. Yet in my experience, we really don't know what these terms mean, or their implications for our work. We don't yet know how to act or think about this new interconnected world of systems we've created. Those of us educated in Western culture learned to think and manage a world that was anything but systemic or interconnected. It was a world of separations and clear boundaries: boxes described jobs, lines charted relationships and accountabilities, roles and policies described the limits of what each individual did and who we wanted them to be. Western culture became very skilled at describing the world with these strange, unnatural separations ….

…. But I've gradually learned there is no alternative. As our dance partner, life insists that we put ourselves in motion, that we learn to live with instability, chaos, change, and surprise. We can continue to stand immobilized on the shoreline, trying to protect ourselves from life's insistent storms, or we can begin moving. We can watch our plans be washed away, or we can discover something new. The changing nature of life insists that we give more attention to what is occurring right in front of us, right now. We can't hide behind our plans or measures. We need to become curious about what's really going on, what just happened. The present moment overflows with information about ourselves and our environment. But so many of those learnings fly by unobserved because we're preoccupied with our images of how we want the world to be.

..... Being present in the moment doesn't mean that we act without intention or flow directionless through life without any plans. But in an unpredictable world, we would do better to look at plans and measures as processes that enable a group to discover shared interests, to clarify its intent and strengthen its connections to new people and new information. We need less reverence for the plan as an object, and much more attention to the processes we use for planning and measuring. It is attention to the process, more than the product, that enables us to weave an organization as flexible and resilient as a spider's web......

These extracts are from an article by Margaret Wheatley: Creating Successful School Systems: Voices from the university, the field, and the community. Christopher-Gordon Publishers, September 1999. They reinforce Tipu Ake thinking about cherishing the undercurrents, collaborative processes that lead us to sensing and the accumulation of wisdom. The full article and more are available at http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/lifetoschools.html

See Margaret's latest book " Finding our Way - Leadership for an Uncertain Time"

Learning and Leadership: How can Schools really make a difference:

A presentation by Mark Beach, Director of Teaching, NZ Correspondence School for the Knowledgewave Trust, Leadership Forum, Feb2003. For full article see:


Quantum Theory of Trust (Learning)

To Karen Stephenson, a maverick yet influential network theorist, the association between trust and learning is an instrument of vast if infrequently tapped organisational power. The act of talking with a trusted colleague generally triggers a resurgence of mutual memory, opening the gates to fresh learning and invention. For the full story read Art Kleiner's report in the Shambhaha Institute Fieldnotes at http://www.shambhalainstitute.org/Fieldnotes/Issue8/index.html

Grassroots Leadership (USS Benfold)

You expect to be awed by the view from the deck of the USS Benfold. The $1billion warship is one of the US Navy's most modern, most lethal fighting machines: 8,300 tons of steel armed with the world's most advanced computer controlled combat system.....and a crack crew of 300 highly skilled, totally committed sailors... When she's eating up the sea at full throttle she generates a plume of froth that's two-stories high.

What you don't expect to find on board the Benfield is a model of leadership as progressive as any celebrated within the business world. The man behind the model is Commander D. Michael Abrashoff... He is credited with building the Benfold's reputation as the best ship in the Pacific fleet. The ship won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the best combat readiness in the fleet - the first time in at least 10 years that that a ship of it's class had received that honor.

Find the full story by Polly Labarre in Fast Company Issue 23, April 1999 on the Fast Company website http://fastcompany.com/online/23/grassroots.html#

I Have a Dream : Martin Luther King:

Click here for Video, Audio and written presentation by Martin Luther King on 28th August 1963 in at a mass march on Washington. An display of great courage in demanding the issues of the day be faced. It enlisted national non violent support from many disadvantaged US citizens and focued all on a dream for a new future. (Ora)

See also a letter to fellow US Clergymen from Jail in Alabama 16 April 1963 who criticized him for engaging in the national struggle.




1. NEW "Lifelong Learning - Nature's Way" - Tipu Ake as a learning model
2. UPDATE " New Tools For Growing Living Organisations and Communities" Radical tools for program management in a world of complexity and inter-dependence - builds on our paper at PMI Global Forum, Anaheim. Nov 2004
UPDATE Downloadable Tipu Ake Model now includes "The Leadership Tripod" and Mycorrhyzal Fungi Networks - Partnerships below the ground level.
4. PODCASTS Listen to Stranova and Living Systems Thinking interviews - Blog
5. VIDEO: Visit Downloadable Video Libary, interviews, stories, apply Tipu Ake
6. Thanks to those who participated in workshops "Tools for Growing Living Organisations" run in New York, London, Mid Wales UK, Finland and San Francisco during August 2005 click here for report

Helping New Zealanders and the world grow from within
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The Tipu Ake Team thanks AUT for helping incubate this model and in particular the many student teams, staff and other local and international volunteers that have helped it germinate in many places around the world.
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