What is Complexity?
"There's no love in a carbon atom, no hurricane in a water molecule, no financial collapse in a dollar bill" - Peter Dodds
Aristotle described complex system behavior as when “the whole is more than the sum of the parts.” Complex Systems consist of many components interacting with each other and their environment to produce several layers and networks of interaction, which generate novel information that makes it difficult to study components of these systems in isolation or to completely predict their future. The main goal of Complex Systems Theory is to understand the relationship between these networks of interaction and the "emergent" properties of the system as a whole. Our global community of practice is focused on creating immediate and lasting impact by applying Complex Systems Theory to the pressing problems of our time on diverse teams.
Solve Complex Problems Together
Meet new collaborators and learn Complexity Science by doing within diverse teams
Complexity Science is an interdisciplinary and inclusive framework for studying, designing, and controlling Complex System behavior, such as global pandemics, extreme weather events, electoral politics, economic recovery and poverty, and much more. Over the course of one weekend, you will experience Complexity from a variety of perspectives, while developing solutions to real-world problems in a team setting. Many of the teams formed during our previous Complexity Weekend cohorts (May 2019, May & Oct 2020, May & Nov 2021) have resulted in productive collaboration and continued work to this day.
What to Expect in a Complexity Weekend Cohort
There are many ways to participate during in a Complexity Weekend cohort, and all of them are equally valid. You might choose to form or join a team that is "Learning Complexity by Doing" while helping to solve a difficult problem. You might participate in facilitated live sessions to get exposed to new perspectives and ideas, or you might spend your time coworking with others. You might chat with mentors or new collaborators, sharing resources through our text-based community infrastructure. Choose your own adventure! All modes of participation are welcome as we navigate our personal and team Complexity journeys together.
September 2022 Facilitators
At Complexity Weekend events, Facilitators lead interactive sessions, mentor teams, share Complexity Science knowledge and experience, create impactful connections, introduce problem-solving frameworks and tooling, and much more. The Facilitator's mission is to work with Organizers to guide the CW participation experience. Facilitators enable teams to embrace diverse perspectives, interface with system stakeholders to gather feedback, draw inspiration from Complexity research, and ultimately to accomplish their goals (whether it be a research proposal, a business plan, or any other outcome). Many teams that form at a Complexity Weekend event go on to do great things together and remain connected to the CW community.
I am a researcher (MSc) with a profile in Philosophy, Psychology and Systems Neuroscience. I also have a background and a keen interest in the network dynamics of complex adaptive systems and have spent the last year using a biologically plausible reinforcement learning model (Active Inference under the free energy principle) to model the emergence of cumulative culture from joint communication in an ecology of social virtual agents. I have had the immense privilege of learning the fundamentals of deep FEP-AI from Karl Friston and his students, and am currently pursuing a PhD position which would allow me to expand on this knowledge of deep learning architectures and explore the nature of human and machine intelligence from the intersection of philosophy, neuroscience and complexity.
Researcher at University of Amsterdam
Andrew Penland (a.k.a. Octopus) enjoys free-form epistemic foraging, chaotic dynamical systems, and playing with symbols. He has a Ph.D. in Mathematics, but prefers words and images to equations.
As an ecological artist, Naho authors a new urban design methodology, “Give Space,” in order to give back more space and return habitats to other-than-human beings in a beyond-anthropocentric way.
Founder at Give Space Urban Design
Probal is the co-founder and CEO of the design-led collective, Depicentre Consulting. He works on the interfaces of business, learning, design, analytics, innovation, and storytelling. With leadership experience across seven countries strengthening his ability to manage cross-cultural and cross-functional virtual teams in complex matrix organisations, he has a passion for driving content- and culture- driven organisations making economic, social, ecological, and educational impact. He has been able to design effective products, services, and solutions, serving customers and building successful coalitions.
Co-Founder and CEO at Depicentre Consulting
Sudebi is a meta-facilitator, futurist, educator, and a designer of learning, narratives, and regenerative leadership. She designs experiences, engagement, and environment that allow people to think, have dialogue, make their thinking and interaction visible, and enable them to design their own solutions and narratives using different modes and media. Sudebi has co-founded a design collective, Depicentre, and started a unique pedagogy-, art-, and design-led trans-local initiative, “The Archival City - a site of learning”.
Associate Dean at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design, and Technology; Co-Founder at Depicentre Consulting
What people are saying about Complexity Weekend
Since 2019, over 80 Facilitators have mentored over 600 Participants, with more than 40 teams emerging to work on complex issues together. Join this robust global community of Applied Complexity practitioners. Teams have reached landmark achievements such as submitting grants and fellowship applications, publishing whitepapers and articles, and/or founding startups or consultancies. Their goals are as diverse as our Participants. Many teams continue to work together to this day!
September 2022 Organizers
Organizers are often in the background as Facilitators and Participants interact. Their mission is to create accessible environments and structures to encourage prosocial and productive interactions among community members, and to support Facilitators as much as possible. They also lead our public CW committees in their various missions to serve our community through deep time. Anyone in our global Community of Practice (who has participated in at least one CW event) is welcome to step up as an Organizer for an upcoming monthly Heartbeat event or a biannual Weekend cohort, or to join and contribute to a public CW committee.
Lead ecologist and data scientist at African Data Technologies. Resident ecologist and permaculture designer at Kumano Shindo GIA. Accelerating our transition to a regenerative future as Core Steward at the Global Regeneration CoLab (GRC). Co-founder at System of Systems Thinkers. Inter-networkweaving a bit all over the place.
Daniel Ari Friedman
Daniel is a postdoctoral researcher with primary focus on the distributed physiology and evolutionary genomics in the eusocial insects. He is also interested in topics related to remote teams, cognitive security, and open science. Daniel has been involved in Complexity through located events and online communities of practice such as Complexity Weekend and previously, the Stanford Complexity Group.
Shaun co-founded Complexity Weekend to help empower teams to learn Complexity by doing while working to solve the world's toughest problems together. At Microsoft, Shaun leads a team of full-stack (Python/Scala) data scientists and engineers, which has developed access management scoring and anomaly detection systems to enforce the Principle of Least Privilege throughout data centers worldwide. His personal research interests involve combining Complexity Science with Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics axioms to peek at fundamental properties of emergent phenomena.