Friday, January 11, 2008

What causes change?

Economists speak of "shocks." Ecologists speak of the unexpected. What is expected? Time is a boundary for our expectations. We expect to not be living on the planet when we are 100 years old. Many of us expect to be here when we would be 75.

Some of that is statistics. We use averages as expectations and yet we are constantly warned by stock brokers not to do so.

Planning is our brain's and culture's response to the unexpected. We predict and try to define path dependencies...that is, force a limited set of outcomes. Still, unexpected consequences are rife.

All this has been summarized as the convenient term "chaos." I'm not sure the term is helpful. It is a bit of a retreat. Where I suspect we need to go is to have a more real-time planning capacity that is informed so we can make decisions with models, past responses and SWOT type inputs rapidly--and without institutional guidelines. That is leading at its pinnacle. We go on, but we spend the bulk of our time enabling action when the stakes are high.

How would one teach a child to be "ready." An adult?

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