Anthony Hodgson, "Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives" (Routledge, 2020)


In the view of Anthony Hodgson, fragmentation of local and global societies is escalating, and this is aggravating vicious cycles. To heal the rifts, Hodgson believes we need to reintroduce the human element into our understandings – whether the context is civic or scientific – and strengthen truth-seeking in decision-making; and that the application of appropriate concepts and methods, will enable a switch from reaction to anticipation, even in the face of discontinuous change and high uncertainty. The intended outcome is the privileging of the positive human skills for collaborative navigation through uncertainty over the disjointed rationality of mechanism and artificial intelligence, which increasingly alienates us.

In Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives out from Routledge in 2020, Hodgson’s readers are introduced to concepts new to systems thinking that integrate systems thinking and futures thinking. Guiding readers through the unfolding of the ideas and practices with a narrative based on the metaphor of search portrayed in the tradition of ox herding, found in traditional Far Eastern consciousness practice, the concept of anticipatory present moment (APM) serves as a basis for learning the cognitive skills that better enable navigation through turbulent times. In his conversation with guest interviewer, Kevin Lindsay, Hodgson pulls together many of the threads with which long-time listeners of this podcast will be familiar and builds upon the work of Robert Rosen, a currently somewhat neglected pioneer of the systems field whose ideas about anticipatory systems has much to offer us in our current turbulent times.

Our guest interviewer, Keven Lindsay, is a 25 year veteran of the software industry, currently with Adobe, who recently began graduate work in Transformative Leadership at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he encountered Dr. Hodgson and his work first hand. While it was in this recent coursework that he was formally introduced to systems thinking, Kevin is rapidly becoming a systems enthusiast—recognizing the significant potential for the application of systems thinking in addressing big issues ranging from customer experience (CX), to social justice reform and climate action. We look forward to having Kevin join the channel as a full-fledged co-host in the very near future.

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Tom Scholte

Tom Scholte is a Professor of Directing and Acting in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia located on the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the Musqueam people

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