(För introduktion till denna serie bloggtexter, se http://blog.perspectus.se/?p=693)
7. Complexity awareness
Understanding of and skills in working with complex and systemic conditions and casualties.
Complexity awareness is first and foremost a keen awareness that certain issues might be complex, and perhaps complex in ways that one is not yet aware of. Complexity might be related to underlying and diverse causes, conditions and circumstances that influence a particular issue. Complexity might also be related to mutual interdependencies between different factors, that cannot be properly understood by uni-directional, uni-factorial causal relationships. A very significant and often mentioned aspect of complexity awareness is systems thinking: the propensity to look for patterns of wholes, how elements of systems interact in complex ways, leading to system dynamics and emergent properties of systems. There are many types of systems: ecological, social, cultural, economic, legal, organizational, cognitive, etc. Systems thinking goes beyond thinking in terms of unidirectional and even multivariate cause-and-effect relationships to consider dynamics that cannot be understood without considering systemic patterns and relationships.
Related concepts that were listed in the survey were holistic view, strategic thinking, dialectical thinking, polarity thinking and ability to synthesize. Awareness of complexity is a first step, actual skills in analyzing, synthesizing and developing and enacting strategies for managing complex issues are of course of central importance.
Complexity awareness is an important condition for having a genuine openness and earning mindset, because there is always an expectation that there are circumstances one is not yet aware of. Complexity awareness is strongly related to Critical thinking, Sense-making and Perspective skills.