Leadership and the New Science Twenty Years On
August 6-10, 2012
Meg's groundbreaking book Leadership and the New Science first appeared in 1992, a time that now seems stable, calm and promising in comparison to 2012. In those 20 years, the world has changed dramatically, mostly confirming the worldview of new science. We experience our world as interconnected, networked, systemic, turbulent, and destabilized by small events that blow up to global proportions. And we experience the power of relationships, information and communication.
Yet for all this confirmation of the worldview of new science, the old models and paradigms still hold a firm grip on most leaders and politics. In the midst of turbulence and chaos, command and control is on the rise, as are force, aggression and polarization. Most organizations still run on mechanistic principles, focused only on simple numeric measures of efficiency that have nothing to do with the complexity of life. People are still viewed as interchangeable parts in the machinery of production, even in service industries.
The 20th anniversary edition of Leadership and the New Science will be published fall of 2012. Meg has substantially rewritten and updated the content, describing both changes in science and, as importantly, changes in society. Where is the worldview of new science evident: intimate interconnections, self-organization, adaptation, and constant change? Where is the old paradigm of hierarchy, control and mechanistic thinking still dominant, and why? How are relationships, work and politics changing in response to technology, instantaneous communication and globalization? Where are we using the new sciences to help us cope and create in this era of chaos, disruption and new possibilities?
Each day we will explore a core question from the worldview of new science, and inquire how that changing perspective is and is not visible in how we think and act personally, in organizations and in societies.
What's new in the new sciences?
Life is about continuous change. Studies in neuroplasticity, evolution, epigenetics reveal that nothing is fixed or predetermined; even DNA changes in response to life experience. Neuroscience confirms the critical role of relationships in creating well-being and health. Physics confirms instantaneous change across distance, non-local effects faster than the speed of light
What does society want from science?
Reliance on science to protect us from ourselves, to reverse ageing, to create a life free of pain and suffering. Faith in science to get us out of the destruction we created for the planet, e.g. geoengineering. Simultaneously discrediting science and scientific method as mere 'opinion.'
Self-Organization: Order without Control
Self-organization--the capacity of life to create order and organization without complex plans, formal leaders or strategies. Observing this powerful dynamic in political movements, terrorist organizations, entrepreneurship, and disaster relief efforts. The role of leadership in a self-organizing world, including strategy and long-term planning.
The Age of Incoherence: Information, Technology and Society
Intersection of people and machines--how technology has changed us. Physiological changes in the brain; changes in cognitive abilities. Impacts on work, societal behaviors and expectations. How technology has simultaneously connected and polarized us. Is coherence possible any longer?
How does change happen on this planet?
Emergence--the creation of large-scale change through small organized efforts that connect through networks of relationship. Critical connections not critical mass. Identifying where best to place our energy and passion to create change. Paradigm pioneers living the future we desire now.