What Is In Edgeware?
Primer - Before you begin a painting process, it's a good ides to first lay down a coat of primer. This prepares the surface, so the paint will go on better. The same is true in learning. This introductory paper prepares your mind with a context and a base-level understanding of complexity science. Later, the more challenging concepts are much more likely to "stick".
This section is a good place to start if you prefer a scholarly and scientific overview of the field of complexity.
Principles - "Theory is fine. But what I am supposed to do?" Good question. That's where the Principles section comes in. Here you will find quick summaries of nine specific, action-oriented heuristics (of rules of thumb) for leading in a complex environment. Each principle is accompanied by insights from some of the leading thinkers in complexity theory.
If you're anxious to see the key lessons underlying complexity, begin with these principles.
Tales - Stories are powerful. They explore truth and nuance in a way that makes it real. For the student of complexity, stories answer the important question "what does this look like in practice?" These are true tales of organizations facing issues - most in health care - viewed through a lens of complexity. (You may even find several that face challenges similar to yours!)
If you are one of the many people whose learning style favors association and illustrations, you may wish to begin your journey here.
Aides - Complexity theory is challenging - not just to learn, but to practice. Sometimes it's nice to have a little help. That's what this section is for. Unlike, "tools," which conjure an image of a machine that cranks out results, these are "aides" - relational, flexible resources that can empower you on your journey through a complex environment. Review them, apply them, adapt them... and make these aides your own.
Applications - Get ready to dig a little deeper. This paper, written by Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D., is an indepth exploration of planning in a complex environment. It is intended to stimulate fresh thinking by offering a complexity perspective and practical advice. Contributions from complexity to other important issues like community health improvement, building health care systems, and quality improvement will be developed in future additions to the application section.
Diffusion - Imagine if you sprayed an air freshener, or poured cream into your coffee...and it remained in a concentrated lump. It would be worthless. Likewise, unless complexity principles spread and diffuse throughout your organization, their true power can never be realized. The diffusion tips in this section include learning strategies, techniques and even "games" for helping to transform your organization into one that is "complexity aware."
Glossary - Be prepared to stretch your vocabulary. Complexity theory is loaded with multi-syllable terms that are probably new to you. (one reason for this is the cross-disciplinary nature of complexity theory. It draws upon biology, physics and computer science - just to name a few disciplines.) As you encounter new terms throughout Edgeware, you can find their clear explanations here. And be sure to drop some of these terms at your next dinner party - everyone will marvel at how smart you are.
Bibliography - Is it books you want? Plenty are available. The bibliography is selective, including only the best. Instead of a dry "list" approach, the bibliography includes reviews, observations and comments to help you find the right book - whether you're looking for something scientific and academic, or a simple, user-friendly approach. Happy reading! (but at some point, make sure you turn off the light and get some sleep.)
Filing Cabinet - Edgeware is, itself, a complex, dynamic and growing project. As a result, when helpful resources, papers and articles become available, they will be included here. A potpourri of ideas and information, this section includes book summaries, reprinted magazine articles and other resources. Explore at your leisure.
Copyright © 2001, Plexus Institute. Permission to copy for educational