Connecting Dots / 01 / Systems at Play

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The economist Adam Smith came to mind as I stood astride a dim zinc bar off Place des Vosges savouring a reliable Rhone red.  Under a flickering Parisian candle the foundational material from module 1 of the EMC at INSEAD flipped by in my notebook. So much mainline knowledge straight from the source to digest, process and practice. 

Smith’s construct of “The Invisible Hand” that drives the economy through rational decisions and irrational actions has shaped the behavioural change focus of my career. Work to help companies create new products, services or ways of working that succeed or fail in the face of resistance from the super rational and conscious schools of logic most of us deploy at work, or at least think we do.

The sketched quote from day 1 represents a key aspect of our work at INSEAD pioneering the emerging B-school field of systems psychodynamics. By accepting systems as constructs we shape and that shape us we can even more impactfully help leaders, teams and organizations. Typically, we think of the system as an external thing, a sort of machine we can tinker with. Yet systems live within us and are manifest by us; rationally and irrationally. 

Instinctively I always deconstruct the system I’m working in, rationally mapping and strategizing. However, I’ve never really interrogated the system in me, yet it has always been at play. My own invisible hand.

Ask yourself, what comes to mind when you think of the system you work in and the system working in you?

The answer may be a glimpse into your own invisible hand.

Thank You

In these newsletters all we’ll do is try to connect a couple dots.  Something that might spark a different perspective in your own work. Comments and questions along the way most welcome. Thank you for joining the journey.

Hungry for more?

  • Immunity to Change a classic that gives “Three Plateaus” in complexity that act as internal sytems. 


I’ll be back in Fontainebleau late May. Gothenburg, Toronto, Paris and london before. Say hi if you’re up for a coffee.


PS. If you like this please forward to a friend so we can grow the community.

Introducing Connecting Dots

Photo Credit: Let’s Go Freeriding (pictured: Philipp Baier,  Adrian Hewlett ,  Julia Dujmovits ,  Brett Macfarlane ,  Gerry Haag

Photo Credit: Let’s Go Freeriding (pictured: Philipp Baier, Adrian Hewlett, Julia Dujmovits, Brett Macfarlane, Gerry Haag

Charging down remote Austrian backcountry on a brilliant bluebird day, it struck me. I had recently been accepted to the INSEAD Executive Masters in Change in Fontainebleau, France. As well, I had just completed a three year project building a design driven strategy and innovation practice in a Scandinavian technology company. My annual freeriding innovators and entrepreneurs retreat landed perfectly in the middle of a transition period.

I was seeking a way to unite my past and future through an organising theme that could collect and develop my thinking while capturing my research experience. As my skis softly slalomed off a stump and into a cloud of crisp Salzburgian powder the concept of Connecting Dots sparked.


Connecting Dots is a blog and newsletter to share my research and to connect with likeminded innovators. It may not be frequent or polished but is a forum to challenge and expand conventional thinking when it comes to innovation and collaboration.

My goal is to publish once between each of the eight on campus modules in Fontainebleau over the next 18 months. Think of it as field notes and interviews from the front lines of innovation.

We all have a lot of good work to do and share. So please subscribe below and forward to anyone other allies leading innovation. 

I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish.