An image representing Complexity Science

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.

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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.

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Information flow in a time of global connectivity

The world is more connected than ever — how can Complexity provide insight and guidance for systems operation and design?

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Adaptive planning for communities amidst turbulence and uncertainty

How can different entities and stakeholders make effective decisions about an unknown future?

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Evaluating shelter-in-place policy efficacy during a pandemic

Public health is a complex system and touches on all aspects of life — which Complexity tools and ideas might help us understand the past and have a healthier future?

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Ensuring fair and accurate elections

Collective decision-making occurs in complex systems from ant colonies to countries — what helps things go right with decision-making?

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Addressing climate change and extreme weather events

How can Complexity help communities around the world deal with the effects of volatile and changing climate and ecological conditions?

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Building resiliency into businesses, governments, and families

Complex systems often show resilience, the capacity to function amidst perturbation. How can companies and institutions organize for resilience?

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Mental health and wellness

What are the causes and consequences of changes to mental health in today’s societies? How can Complexity help us understand and act to improve health?

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.

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    A Pre-Weekend Experience to Onboard to the Community

    Get to know your Weekend cohort, watch pre-recorded intro videos by Facilitators, and test your audio/video setup.

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    Participation in a Deep-Time, Global Community of Practice

    Past cohorts have had Participants from over 55+ countries. We meet online every month to support each other in our various Applied Complexity endeavors.

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    A Weekend-long Interactive Online Experience

    Livestreams, Complexity Science-inspired interactive sessions, an inclusive team formation process, and much more!

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    Collective Brainstorming and Sense-making on the Pressing Problems of Our Day

    Many diverse perspectives converge during the Weekend empowering our community to identify problems and strategize ways to provide long-lasting positive impact.

Cellular automata score.

Cellular automata score.

Oil pencil and acrylic on tyvek. 135 x 90cm. 2021.

Art by: Briony Barr

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.

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!

"I went to Complexity Weekend not really knowing what to expect. I ended up surrounded by some of the most brilliant people I've ever met. Great content followed by lots of open time for teamwork. Not one team was judgmental about where I was at in the subject matter. When I wasn't able to find a team immediately, the Organizers helped me find one. I eventually found myself on a team working on physiology (which I know nothing about), but I learned by doing and four months later I ended up the point of contact for the team on a DARPA grant!"

May 2021 Weekend Cohort

"My team ranged from people with no coding desire to people who were going to start coding on something as soon as we start bringing it up in the team calls. There was so much energy and enthusiasm that it was contagious. It was a great experience and opportunity to interact with interesting and kind people, and it's something I'll never forget. I'd like to continue working with this community in the future and aim to provide a useful tool at some point along the way."

November 2021 Weekend Cohort

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.