Difference between revisions of "Change Dynamics"

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Revision as of 13:11, 26 March 2020


Daniel Christian Wahl:

"The three aspects of resilience (persistence, adaptive capacity and transformability) describe important capacities of living systems: to resist collapse and maintain vital functions, to adapt to changing conditions (learn and self-organize) and in the case of Socio-Ecological Systems to apply foresight and anticipation to ‘design for positive emergence’ — to transform the system towards increased health and an improved capacity to respond wisely and creatively to disruptions and change.

The theory of complex dynamic systems describes the periodic, rhythmic dance between order and chaos, between stability and transformation as a fundamental pattern of self-organization in complex (living) systems. As any system begins to mature, there is an accompanying increase in fixed and ordered patterns of interactions and resource flows. The system becomes over-connected, or better, the existing qualities and quantities of connections are such that they inhibit the formation of new pathways needed for the system’s overall adaptation to outside changes and its continued evolution. Eventually this leads to rigidity within the system, and it becomes brittle, less resilient, and more susceptible to disturbances from the outside.

At this point, the effects of detrimental run-away feedback loops inside the system can further challenge viability. The often resulting gradual or sudden breakdown of the old order and structures moves the system closer to ‘the edge of chaos’ — the edge of its current stability (dynamic equilibrium) domain. The reorganization of resource flows and changes in the quality and quantity of interconnections within the system at this point create a crisis that can be turned into an opportunity for transformation and innovation.

At the edge of chaos, complex dynamic systems are at their most creative (Kauffman, 1995). Ervin László argues in The Chaos Point that the world and humanity is currently at a crossroads between breakdown and breakthrough. If we take appropriate actions, the chaos point could be an opportunity to “leap to a new civilization” (László, 2006: 109). Understanding the overall dynamics of change we are in the midst of is important. We need to learn to work with rather than fight against these cyclical patterns of creative innovation, consolidation, ossification and eventual dissolution to make room for transformative innovation and renewed creativity.

The adaptive cycle is a model of natural patterns of change in ecosystems and eco-social systems. It consists of four distinct phases: ‘growth or exploitation’ (r); ‘conservation’ (K) of established patterns and resource distribution; ‘collapse or release’ (Ω); and reorganization (α). The adaptive cycle \ is often drawn like an infinity symbol or Möbius loop that joins these four phases." (https://medium.com/activate-the-future/the-adaptive-cycle-as-a-dynamic-map-for-resilience-thinking-a1a9f69dc257)