Freelance Consultant and Researcher, USA


Ken Baskin, Senior Partner of Life Design Partners and an ISCE Fellow, writes, lectures, and consults on the benefits of thinking differently about the things we know best. In his book, "Corporate DNA: Learning from life" (ISBN 0750698446), he focused on how managers can increase innovation, productivity, and market share by thinking about their organizations as if they were living things evolving in market eco­systems. For the last 10 years, Ken has applied the principles of complexity thinking to human social systems, focusing, first, on health care and, more recently on storytelling and complexity. The lat­ter interest arose during an ISCE-funded research project he completed in 2002, which examined the dynamics of storytelling in work group cultures at three American hospitals. He has published a series of articles and book reviews in E:CO and Emergence, and has also published articles in such publications as The Manchester Review, Organizations & People, The Physician Executive, and Innovative Leader. In addition, he has spoken before audiences at several ISCE and Society for Complexity in Psychology and the Life Sciences conferences, a RAND Corporation workshop on complexity in public policy, and a 1999 seminar on complexity management in Tokyo. Ken worked as an executive speechwriter at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), Sun Company, and the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy. He has also run his own public re­lations firm, with clients including Monsanto, ITT, and Merck. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Maryland and now lives in Philadelphia, PA with his wife.



The role of complexity studies in the emerging “processual” worldview
Volume: 20, Issue 1
As writers including Heinz Pagels to Lee Smolin have noted, a new scientific paradigm is emerging to take the place the linear model of Descartes and Newton. This paper explores Complexity Theory studies the patterns that emerge as phenomena evolve in the world suggested by that new paradigm. The co-authors refer to the new paradigm as "processual", because it depicts a world composed fundamentally of processes that flow through each other to create systemic causality, rather than the Newtonian image of a clock-like world of cause-and-effect. The paper relates how the co-authors used Complexity Theory to understand this emergent worldview as they wrote *The Axial Ages of World History*. In doing so, they discovered a way of understanding world history as extremely "thick" and multi-dimensional, less like a machine than an ecosystem. Complexity Theory, they conclude, stands as a gateway to such an understanding of disciplines from psychology to organizational development.

Storied spaces: The human equivalent of complex adaptive systems
Volume: 10, Issue 2

A Review of Complexity in World Politics: Concepts and Methods of a New Paradigm written by Neil E. Harrison reviewed by Ken Baskin published by State University of New York Press ISBN 9780791468074 (2006)
Volume: 9, Issue 3

New notes from Stellenbosch
Volume: 9, Issue 1-2

A Review of "The Emergence of Leadership: Linking Self-Organization and Ethics"
Volume: 8, Issue 4

A review of "Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World"
Volume: 8, Issue 2

Guest editors' introduction (7.3-4)
Volume: 7, Issue 3-4

Complexity, stories and knowing
Volume: 7, Issue 2
In this article, the author argues that storytelling is a biological imperative for human beings, the psychological mechanism by which they can capture the coherent perceptions of an unknowably complex world required for survival. After examining how internal story creation reduces the world?s complexity to a state in which people can effectively choose actions, the article explores how acting on such internal stories helps create a spiral of experience, storying, acting and confirmation or contradiction of storying in experience, leading to knowledge. As experience confirms the predictions of storying, a person?s knowledge becomes stronger and stronger. Over time, stories evolve from antenarrative (what might have happened) to narrative (what did happen), and then to myth (the nature of reality). The article concludes with some thoughts on the implications of this theory of the relationship between storying and cognition. ##

First impressions: A Review of Blink
Volume: 7, Issue 1

And miles to go before we sleep
Volume: 6, Issue 3

Complexity and the Dilemma of the Two Worlds
Volume: 5, Issue 1

Review of Richard N. Knowles? The Leadership Dance
Volume: 4, Issue 4

Corporate DNA
Volume: 2, Issue 1

Corporate DNA
Volume: 1, Issue 2