Systems of organization: Ladders, webs, and fractals as organizing structures

If we look carefully, we can see systems literally everywhere. But what exactly are we looking for? Why does our perspective matter? And how do different perspectives affect how we think about the world? There are all kinds of systems: physical (mechanical, infrastructure, environmental, physiological), social (political, economical, legal, health care), informational (ideological, mathematical, linguistic). […]

Beyond anatomy | Changing the way we think about the body and its parts

In her 2012 TEDx talk, Nina Tandon explains how our ideas about the body as a whole and parts have evolved “from body intact to body replaceable parts to growing pieces of the body that are living from scratch.” Her explanation also highlights the relevance of scale and the distinction between part-whole relationships at the […]

On the distinction between work groups and teams

Groups do not become teams simply because that is what someone calls them…A working group’s performance is a function of what its members do as individuals. A team’s performance includes both individual results and what we call “collective work products.”…Whatever it is, a collective work product reflects the joint, real contribution of team members…The essence […]

We can discover the whole by going further into its parts…

Goethe describes several ways to sense the whole, and I am particularly challenged by one of his processes – that we can discover the whole by going further into its parts. While this sounds like good old-fashioned reductionism, it is quite different. We inquire into the part as we hold the recognition that it is […]