In this Anthropocene Dialogue, Dr. Glenda Eoyang, founder of the field, introduced the theoretical underpinnings of Human Systems Dynamics (HSD). HSD is a transdisciplinary field that draws theory from nonlinear dynamics and practice from effective action across a wide range of human experience. In the dialogue it was explained how she and her team have applied HSD to intractable issues, including corruption, conflict, sustainability, pedagogy, conservation science, and mass migration. The dialogue included examples of practice in HSD’s inquiry-based problem solving approach and exploration of the diverse disciplines and methods from which HSD emerged.
Glenda Eoyang works with public and private organizations to help them thrive in the face of overwhelming complexity and uncertainty. She is a pioneer in the applications of complexity science to human systems, and she founded the field of human systems dynamics (HSD). Through Human Systems Dynamics Institute, where she serves as founding executive director, Glenda uses her models and methods to help others see patterns in the chaos that surrounds them, understand the patterns in simple and powerful ways, and take practical steps to shift chaos toward coherence.
The HSD Associate Network includes 650 scholar-practitioners around the world. They are certified to apply her principles of Adaptive Action and Pattern Logic in diverse sectors including education, health care, government, and philanthropy. Her work relates to human systems at all scales and contexts from individual health and wellness to performance evaluation and international patterns of corruption and conflict. Her recent clients include the Finnish Research Institute (VTT); US Environmental Protection Agency; British Columbia Ministry of Health, Canada; Oxfam International, UK; Yukon Territorial Government, Canada; Family Housing Fund; Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities; the McKnight Foundation; and the Association for Medical Education in Europe. For more information about HSD and Glenda click here.
Glenda’s latest book, with co-author Royce Holladay, is Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization (Stanford University Press, April 2013).
Claimed to be a new ‘human-dominated, geological epoch’ (Paul Crutzen 2002), the Anthropocene brings with it a critical imperative, namely that we rethink our role as humans in shaping our joint future, and learn to engage with this challenge through each other’s eyes. The evidence that humans are now a major geological power, introduces a significant paradigm shift in how we theorise about our place in this new world, but more importantly, also has implications for deciding how to act and plan interventions.