School of System Change

We know that growing a global community of change agents is our best chance to accelerate a transition to a sustainable future. Want to know more?

Founding Executive Director, Human Systems Dynamics Institute

Glenda Eoyang works with public and private organizations to help them thrive in the face of overwhelming complexity and uncertainty. She is a pioneer in the applications of complexity science to human systems, and she founded the field of human systems dynamics (HSD) in 2001. Through Human Systems Dynamics Institute, she leads a global network of of over 900 scholar-practitioners. They apply HSD to wicked problems ranging from early childhood education to violent extremism, public health, and corporate futuring and strategy. Her clients include the Finnish Research Institute (VTT), USA Environmental Protection Agency, British Columbia Ministry of Health, Oxfam International, Yukon Territorial Government, Rippel Foundation, the Association for Medical Education in Europe, USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UK National Health Service, Roffey Park Institute, SUCCEED (an HIV-AIDS response strategy in South Africa), WITS University School of Health Sciences (Johannesburg). Glenda received her doctorate in Human Systems Dynamics from the Union Institute and University in 2001, studying under Drs. Donald Klein and Kevin Dooley. There she discovered three fundamental factors that influence the dynamics of self-organizing change in human systems. Her published works include scholarly articles in a variety of fields and Radical Rules for Schools: Adaptive Action for Complex Change (HSD Institute, 2013), Coping with Chaos: Seven Simple Tools (Lagumo Press, 1996), Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science (Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001). Her most recent book, co-authored with Royce Holladay, is Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization (Stanford University Press, 2013). It is a roadmap for anyone who chooses to work at the intersection of order and chaos.

"Human Systems Dynamics applies principles from complexity science and decades of business experience to see patterns in chaos, find what is true and useful, and take courageous action in spite of overwhelming uncertainty. Simple models and methods leverage the power of complexity to tame wicked issues for individuals, teams, institutions, and communities."

What are you most excited about in your current work and why?

Communities and institutions around the world face complex, systemic challenges today. Our work provides options for adaptive action, even on seemingly intractable issues. We are most excited about our global work in public health, healthcare policy and strategy, innovations in education, adaptive foresight, and equity and social justice. Our greatest joy comes from helping others build the adaptive capacity they need to transform turbulence and uncertainty into possibility for all.