Last week saw a remarkable meeting in Washington, bringing together USAID staff with scientists and practitioners working on complex systems. This post reflects on the event and outlines some of the emerging lessons. Background There have been a number of meetings on the topic of complexity and development in different locations around the world in […]

A fascinating 7 minute TED talk by Sean Gourley.

Most analysts agree that globalisation has become more intensive and dramatic in recent decades because of advances in technology, communications, science and transportation. While it can be a catalyst for development and progress, globalisation also carries significant and increasing challenges for aid policy makers and practitioners alike. I: The new face of vulnerability? Recent years […]

Tipping points are found in ecosystems, economies and even bodies. But they’re usually recognized in retrospect, when it’s too late for anything but regret. Now a growing body of research suggests there are telltale mathematical signals. If scientists can figure out how to detect them, they may be able to forecast tipping points ahead of […]

Most readers will know this image, now iconic for all the wrong reasons (and blogged about here earlier this year) We shouldn’t groan when we see such images, we should be excited. A three minute TED talk by ecologist Eric Berlow explains why, using approaches from his work in natural systems. The presentation left me reflecting […]

The most interesting story this week for anyone interested in complexity and aid  issues is the news that Bill Frej, head of the United States Agency for International Development’s mission to Afghanistan from May 2009 until June 2010, will be the first ‘development diplomat in residence’ at the Santa Fe Institute, the leading global think-tank […]