The Institute is interested in proposals and initiatives exploring methods and findings developed within the complexity sciences that better describe and provide novel insights into human social issues. We are interested in exploring ways that these new results can powerfully impact policy, polity, and the specific enactments of individuals when these events relate to human interactions across scale, from local to regional to global. Examples include:

  • New conceptualizations of economic, political, technological and social systems that are inclusive of complexity results and indicate new ways of both understanding and generating social value (see below)
  • Economic development, wealth distribution, and flows of economic resources that center around variables and parameters relating to social value;
  • The implications of population growth on limited global resources including fresh water flows, stored energy reserves, rare minerals, food stocks and distribution, and medium-term resources such as flora and fauna, and so forth;
  • Climate change analyses that are inclusive of complexity models of human social systems (in contrast to models restricted to the dynamics of nonhuman physical or natural systems);
  • New mathematical metrics, methods, and techniques that focus on and incorporate the unique qualities of human interactions (with the implication that traditional assumption of invariance and ergodicity may not be appropriate in all cases);
  • Systems of governance, government, and other modes of leading and guiding human collectives that take to heart complexity science findings concerning the unique dynamics of human interaction science, pure and applied, intended to further the Institute's mission. These are intended engage social enterprises as partners to develop theory and research methods which are practically useful as a means to further the accumulation and measurement of social value.
  • The creation and intelligent distribution of social value through the mechanisms of economic engagement through workplace and community involvement and support
  • Future educational endeavors that create and foster the necessary conditions leading to leaps in social innovation, in other words, from the title of one of our recent books, "to create ecologies of innovation".

Initiative Areas

The institute is interested in collaborative research partnerships with:

  • University-based programs involved in pure and applied complexity science;
  • Government (multi-national, national, and local) sponsored efforts to draw out the implications of complexity science for social, economic, and cultural issues;
  • Institutes, centers, and other types of consortiums aiming to integrate complexity science inspired ideas with other leading edge theoretical and research agendas;
  • For-profit and social-entrepreneurial activities pursuing both theoretical and pragmatic advances in our understanding of social innovation;
  • Leaders of industry, NGO's, and social enterprises who recognize the promises of complexity science when allied with new technologies for the amelioration of social problems as well as for taking advantage of the new opportunities arising as a result of these novel technologies.

Some specific initiatives are:

1. Mobile Software Tools for the Virtual Social Enterprise

The Institute is currently involved in two initiatives with one of the world's largest social enterprises. These initiatives are intended to explore the use of new mobile communications applications, cloud computing and social networking to faciliate the social missions of social enterprises. These initiatives explore the following two areas:

  • In mid 2010, our social enterprise partner launched a new social action movement. The Institute is working with the social enterprise partner as well as others to incorporate mobile technologies and social media into the process in an effort take the social action movement to the next level.
  • Explore the efficacy of moving the Social Enterprise business model into the virtual world of network gaming to test the efficacy of incorporating social service within virtual worlds. This will include the testing the efficacy of migrating a robust social consiousness into virtual commerce and in so doing converting virtual service into real live comercial value for social enterprises. Success in this effort will change social enterprise and also demonstrate the potential for including moral development and digital citizenship in virtual gaming environments.

2. The Application of Complexity Ideas to Economic Development Aid Programs

Traditional approaches to International Aid tend to follow economic models that are decades old.  New models that include social contagion dynamical systems and emergence of novel organizing forms might identify better resources allocation processes.

3. Identification & specification of parameters that can enable quantitative modeling

Efforts are underway to develop a core set of constructs and quantitative measurements that form the basis of a complexity-inormaed research agenda.

4. Micronarrative Video Data of Social Entrepreneurs

This effort will gather thousands of short video clips that demonstrate elements of the complexity perspective on innovation and entrepreneurial practice.


5. Third International Symposium & Conference is being planned