Simple, Complicated, Complex

Here is a great chart that outlines the important differences between these 3 concepts.

Ok. Everybody can take a turn and make sense of these 3 labels any way they want. For me I place these three categories on a temporal scheme.

I’ll go first. SIMPLE, is pre-WWII. First and foremost gender distinctions were binary, industry and manufacturing were strong in North America, Britain was still an Imperial power (but on the wane), and the nuclear family, Father (bread winner) Mother (house wife), kids, dog, house w/garage. Note: There’s an emphasis on the experiential.

COMPLICATED, is when things get a bit complicated its Post-WWII, and algorithms and computers start to take hold. Race to the moon between USA and the Soviet Union. Management science is now a buzz word, the ‘company man’ is valorized. But cracks are beginning to emerge, Martin Luther King leads the March on Washington, feminism, the Vietnam war, Woodstock, Fanon and national liberation movements.

COMPLEX. This is where we are today: Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Truth and Reconciliation, Me-Too, climate crisis, COVID, anti-vaxxerrs, Uber, Airbnb, social media influencers, cryptocurrencies, alt-right, Donald Trump. People working for systemic social change need to orient themselves and collaborate with like-minded (notice I didn’t say necessarily same-minded, coalitions need to be built) others to navigate this complex socio-economic terrain.

Randy Terada
Centre for Social Innovation Annex
720 Bathurst St.

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