“The things best to know are first principles and causes, but these things are perhaps the most difficult for men to grasp, for they are farthest removed from the senses … ” – Aristotle

“A bad map is worse than no map at all for it engendered in the traveler a false confidence…” – Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing


At first glance, it is easy to confuse complex and complicated. Aren’t they the same?

Complexity comes from the Latin word “complexus” which means “interconnected”. In daily use, the two words can be used interchangeably. On the other hand, in management and science, complex is very different from complicated. A car is complicated. A company, an institution or an ecosystem are complex. In fact, all living entities are complex. They are self-healing, self-developing, self-reproducing, self-regulating and are highly responsive to very subtle changes in their surroundings. 

A common mistake occurs when working with or attempting to change an entity is to confuse its nature: when treating a complex entity as a complicated one, we often make more damage than we realize. A pattern that often comes up is what is called “Fixes that fail”. When trying to fix the issue at hand without understanding the complex dynamically shifting nature of an entity, we end up creating second order and third order issues that muddle the root causes. This ends up making it even more difficult to resolve the root cause of the issue.

A basic understanding of complexity science and systems thinking is likely the most needed and least understood capacity any decision maker requires – especially when considering the increasing uncertainty and constraints the future holds. The number of issues that flow out of action without prior exploration of the relationships implied in a  system can hardly be overstated.


The workshop offers a solid grounding and experience in the theory and practice of resiliency, including basic training in:

  • The difference between complex and complicated and history of why they are confused
  • Complexity fundamentals
  • Parallels between indigenous worldviews and complexity science
  • Thinking in systems and emergence
  • Collective systems mapping
  • Systems archetypes
  • Finding leverage points

We facilitate this workshop using tools and techniques to accommodate the various cognitive learning styles: presentations, storytelling, audio and video materials, active experiential participation.


Who should register?

  • Professionals at any level, including educators, public servants, recreation and tourism workers, responders and health care workers, etc.
  • Anyone looking to foster resilience in themselves and others


The workshop can be delivered in person (preferred) or over Zoom and has the options of

  • 3 two hour sessions
  • 2 half days
  • 1 full day


If you are interested in these topics, but the scope or time commitment of this workshop is too broad or detailed, we are happy to work with you to shape the content and form of the workshop to accommodate your needs.