The Art of Simplexity

Nautilus shell by Angel Rodriguez

Are you tired of dealing with complexity?

Every day, more and more people realize how difficult it is to deal with it. You may call it VUCA (what my colleagues and I from the Socio-Technical Systems – Design Roundtable call iVUCA) or maybe you don’t have a word for it yet. iVUCA happens when we work in an environment that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, on top of that challenge lies the interconnectedness we obtain with technology.

Sometimes we oversimplify things but very often, we miss the whole picture. Understanding the complexity of simple things, and finding a way to make complex things simple seems to be one of the most important skills to deal with the challenges of our current world.


Dealing with complexity requires a totally different set of skills that we need to acquire if we are to survive in this world. One of the biggest problems to deal with our current reality is the tendency to split things into “manageable” pieces. It is also what creates more chaos in organizations.

Fragmentation is the wrong kind of complexity. It leads to suffering and stifled potential in our lives and our organizations.
 Mindfulness is loving all the details of our lives, and awareness is the natural thing that happens: life begins to open up, and you realize that you’re always standing at the center of the world. – Susan Szpakowski, ALIA Institute

Creating the conditions our teams need to thrive require that we make every decision with the big picture in mind. Systems Thinking, Systems Feeling and Systems Being encompass the highly prized skills for the new organizations although few people know how they look like day to day; they are also changing the face of leadership and team dynamics. Intervening in complex systems requires a totally different set of skills, such as authenticity, vision, presence, the ability to foster collaboration, divergent thinking, decision making and mindfulness.

And true collaboration is only achieved when a skilled intervener invites a group to solve problems, using a whole system approach.

For sure, for leaders who are used to a more traditional approach, it feels scary to truly empower the group and help them co-create their own solutions. For more information about Whole systems approaches or support for your own organization don’t hesitate to contact us.