Anthony Hodgson, "Ready for Anything: Designing Resilience for a Transforming World" (Triarchy Press, 2011)


Recently I had a chance to sit down for a long overdue chat with Anthony (Tony) Hodgson. When we last spoke it happened to be for my very first episode of Systems and Cybernetics. We talked about his newest book at the time: Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). That was in the summer of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world was seemed to be experiencing more turbulence than it ever had.

Fast forward to late 2023. The world, by all accounts—wars, climate chaos, mass shootings, and a lingering virus that will probably never go away—is turbulent beyond the tolerance threshold of the planet itself, not to mention its inhabitants. It seemed a fitting time to talk to Tony about his more recent Ready for Anything: Designing Resilience for a Transforming World, 2nd Edition (Triarchy, 2021).

First published a decade ago, Ready for Anything starts by describing a 'global predicament', characterized by reductionist modes of thinking that are increasingly unsuited to what is really going on, and our fixation on short-term results—a pattern often referred to as shifting the burden. Hodgson writes that "complex messes are often the result of interactions between multiple complex adaptive systems, resulting in the emergence of unpredictable behaviours" (p. 18).

In Ready for Anything, Hodgson introduces 'The World System Model'. The model encompasses 12 nodes ranging from Dominant Worldviews, to Wealth and Power, to Climate Change impact, and aims to provide a much-needed platform for a design revolution that harmonizes humanity, ecology and technology by integrating knowledge across disciplines around the major systemic issues confronting our world. Hodgson brought the model to the International Futures Forum (IFF) where it was implemented as the IFF World Game (follow the link for a visual of the model and examples of how it's put to use), which makes the model accessible to any kind of group in a highly participative manner.

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Kevin Lindsay

"What is the pattern that connects the crab to the lobster and the primrose to the orchid, and all of them to me, and me to you?" - Gregory Bateson
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