Certainty used to be the foundation of knowledge and action. Those days are gone. Today, uncertainty is the only certainty. HSD’s Pattern Logic helps you make decisions and take action, even when you can’t predict or control anything in your world.

Everyone knows how to solve a big problem. You break it up into parts, solve the parts, and put the whole thing back together. The problem is that it is impossible to do any of these things in a complex system.

In HSD the big problems are actually sticky issues. The parts are massively entangled; the boundaries are not clear; and the connections are mutual and multiple. Change is emergent, and problems appear to be intractable.

HSD offers an alternative view. When faced with a sticky issue we:

  1. See the patterns that emerge as we explore What?
  2. Understand the conditions that influence those patterns and hold the problem in place as we ask So what?
  3. Take action to influence the conditions and shift the pattern toward more productivity and coherence as we ask Now what?

Every action shifts the pattern and invites us into the next cycle of pattern-based inquiry and action. We don’t just believe this is the best way to solve complex problems in unpredictable environments, we believe it is the only way. When you see patterns and not problems, you create new options for action for yourself and others.

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Where did HSD come from?

HSD is the intersection of systems thinking, effective practice, and social and complexity sciences. Find out more.

How can you use Pattern Logic in your life and work?

Explore applications of Pattern Logic and Adaptive Action in health care, teaching and learning, business and industry, philanthropy, and government.

Related Resources

The CDE Model explains the three system conditions that influence the speed, path, and direction of self-organizing systems. The conditions shape the patterns that make up the reality of your world.
This extract from Eoyang's dissertation gives the foundation for the CDE Model of Conditions for Self-Organizing in Human Systems.
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