We are living in a world that is ruled by laws of complexity and dominated by an ever increasing degree of uncertainty. However, projects are still managed from a reductionist and mechanistic viewpoint. So far, there have only few simple and applicable models that help organizations to look at their change projects from a complexity viewpoint.


Collaboration in a mechanistic environment Collaboration in a complex environment
One clear big picture many perspectives
divided into simple tasks overlapping responsibilities
performance based based on common thinking
mostly technical problems mostly paradigm problems
stable and predictable environment changing & unpredictable environment
easy to work alone high need of dialogue

Ashby-Ross’s law of requisite variety suggests that organizations cannot be controlled or managed if they do not have as much flexibility as their environment. In an intensely connected world, this degree of organizational flexibility is very difficult to achieve. However the shift to a heterarchical structure will create many additional dimensions of flexibility, as information flows become less constrained.

In diverse and somewhat complex environment collaboration and interaction become more significant than ever before. Effective collaboration is defined by constant co-thinking, rethinking, questioning and looking things from different perspectives. How can you assure this complex and unpredictable collaboration process?

Principles of the Change Journey

1. Change has its borders: Change is partly given to us.

2. The journey will teach us: Problems become our friends.

3. Widen the circle of involvement as much as possible and necessary.

4. Connect people to the content of the change and to each other.

5. Identify or create containers where new thinking can happen.

6. People do not resist change : All people have concerns, purposes and circumstances.

The Change Journey Map is the tool for designing team specific Change Journeys. Find more background materials here.


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Comment by Holger Nauheimer on April 14, 2010 at 2:50pm
Alejandro, here is my suggestion:
1) Acknowledge and appreciate their experience
2) Expose them to the Change Journey and ask them what they think should be done next to move the project / the team / the organization forward. Where do they think are the weak points in their processes? What are their anwers?
3) Widen the circle of involvement and have more people commenting on the Change Journey
Comment by Alejandro Urias on April 14, 2010 at 2:39pm
How to change the “not invented here syndrome”? What if people believe they have all the answers? Or they don’t perceive problems never feel the need to change. Then this is the worst scenario for consultancy.
Comment by Daniel Bassill on April 5, 2010 at 3:32pm
As you look at the library, look at how we've used concept maps to show the organization and relationships of the information in the library. This takes a huge amount of time, and must be constantly maintained. I can't do that by myself, so I'm always looking for volunteers who will get involved and help.

However, my library only focuses on a small part of the challenges in the world. I encourage you to view the Boston Indicators map at

Poverty, tutoring/mentoring, are only part of a few slices of the pie chart that represents all of the issues important to Boston. I think it would be a great benefit if for each slice of the pie chart, someone were creating journey maps, or knowledge maps, to help people see the roads they might travel over many years to solve some of these issues.

If this were done for each slice, I suspect there would be a convergence in the center where many of these issues that seem separate, are really interconnected.
Comment by Holger Nauheimer on April 5, 2010 at 2:04pm
Daniel, your library is impressive, and I recommend everybody to follow the link. I will take this as a reminder for creating a public library for this community. Let me think about a godd structure and implement it as soon as possible.
Comment by michel wils on April 5, 2010 at 1:58pm
thank you very much Daniel, very usefull
Comment by Daniel Bassill on March 13, 2010 at 5:06pm
I've created a library that aggregates links to many articles and web sites which may be useful to people who are learning the "principles of the change journey". I encourage you to add a link to this page and other relevant resources into my library, as part of a strategy that "widens the circle of involvement as much as possible."


© Vesa Purokuru & Holger Nauheimer, 2010.

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