homeabout the instituteserviceswhy us?resourcesThe TETRA
about us

Recommended Reading

A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership 
- Russell Ackoff
In his own inimitable style, Russ gives his take on the various leadership programs he has evaluated and then describes leadership in the context of moving a social system in a desired direction.

Why so few Organizations Adopt Systems Thinking 
- Russell Ackoff
Russ spent his entire career working with corporations in many different industries to help them operate not only more efficiently but also more effectively for as he often said."...doing the wrong thing better, only makes you wronger." In this article Russ describes why he believes that it is so hard for organizations to change their culture enough to really adopt a systemic worldview.  

Distributed Capitalism - A Scientific Validation for ‘Going Local’
-Frank Nuessle – published in the World Futures Journal, December 2013
In this paper I argue that America needs a new economic operating system, which I call “Distributed Capitalism.” When realized, a Distributed Free-Enterprise Economy will result in cities, counties and states functioning as densely connected, free-enterprise networks composed of interlinked people, businesses, communities and governments that all contribute to and draw sustenance from the circulation of goods, services, resources, energy, information, culture and money.

The TETRA – An Open-source Organizational Design to Foster Group Innovation and Creativity
-Frank Nuessle – This is transcript and slide deck from a lecture I delivered in 2012 at a conference at the University of North Carolina, Ashville
The Civil War transformed the federal government and the national psyche. What struck me was how we in America are still fighting the Civil War – blue states vs. red states, liberal versus conservative, white vs. black, federal control versus local control; man against the planet. All of this is about fighting, about competition, about winning. We need to start seeing the bigger picture. And as Bucky said many decades ago we can no longer afford war; it is time for cooperation to trump competition. That is what this presentation is about. I will present a tool, based on Bucky's concept of the Tetrahedron and dynamic tension, that I believe can help generate better human relations and the innovative solutions we need to overcome the wicked problems we are now facing.

Using Organizational Design to Speed Human Evolution
-Frank Nuessle – Transcript and slides from ISSS presentation July 2014
This research proposes an organizational design to capture collaborative creativity by holding a space for dynamic, emotional tension between four people. It is based on the assertion that in order to solve the wicked problems of today we must burst through the evolutionary and cultural obstacles to creativity and innovation which are caused by massive isolation and a dominance of ‘group think’ which kills honesty and authenticity.  

Dancing with Systems - Donella Meadows - This seminal article on systems thinking by one of the early leaders in the field goes back to the late 1990s and lays out with great clarity some of the "how to"s about operating with a systems perspective in an organizational context.

Addressing the Blind Spot of Our Time - Otto Scharmer This article describes the new social technology of Presencing which has been developed by MIT’s Otto Scharmer over the last 15 years as a result of his research in the qualities of effective leaders. His research concludes that the most important attribute of an effective leader is his or her ability to shift the overall quality of the collective attention of an organization which will be determined by the quality of that leader’s attention and intention.

Money - A Critical Tool, a Dangerous Master - Frank Nuessle 
In the wake of mounting evidence of systemic economic, social, and environmental imbalances, a clear consensus is emerging that America needs to do something different. This article argues the case that America needs to rethink "money" - how it is created and distributed, but more importantly how we perceive money - so that we can reboot our economic operating system, bring more balance and innovation into local economies, and put the American economy back on the path to being the land of opportunity for those willing to work hard to fulfill their dreams.

Integrating Systems Thinking and Design Thinking - John Pourdehnad - This article, recently published in The Systems Thinker, Pegasus Communications, makes the point that design in systems thinking is not the same as design and design thinking. In systems thinking, design is a creative act with the idea that the future is subject to creation – design being the creative process – and that you need to dissolve problems and not just attempt to solve them through redesign of the system.

Russell Ackoff on Learning, the Change of Age and Systems Thinking 
A system is transformed when the type of system it is thought to be is changed.
                                         Russell Ackoff

Distributed Capitalism
UNCA Lecture
Nuessle ISS Transcript