W A S H I N G T O N   C E N T E R   F O R   C O M P L E X I T Y   &   P U B L I C   P O L I C Y  

For Immediate Release:                                                      For Information, Contact:
November 12, 2002                                                              Kristine Heine, 202-371-9600





Center Leads the Way in Applying Complexity Science to Public Policy


WASHINGTON, DC  -- What do today’s students need to become lifetime learners, workers and citizens in a rapidly changing, complex and interconnected world?  In what ways can complexity science help educators develop new ways of thinking about education in order to ensure that today’s students are prepared to meet the challenges of the future?
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige agreed that these two questions should be investigated by
the Washington Center for Complexity & Public Policy and authorized a grant to the Center from the U.S. Department of Education.
The result of the Center’s efforts will be incorporated into a report entitled, “Education and the New Science,” which will be completed by March 1, 2003, and will include a set of recommendations and prototypes of educational materials for use within the Department.  The project is based on complexity science, a new way of understanding the interrelated dynamics of systems and how seemingly small actions can have major impacts.
Irene Sanders, executive director of the Center, said, “Complexity science provides a new framework for thinking about and planning for the future, and complexity-based models are being used to provide insights on all kinds of important questions and policy issues.”
She continued, “As a strong advocate for new ways of thinking about education and as part of the Administration’s education reform agenda, Secretary Paige recognized the potential benefits of complexity science as a new framework for thinking about education within a futures context.”                     
The Center also has launched a new website, www.complexsys.org, which will allow interested parties around the world to learn more about complexity science and its applications to strategic thinking and public policy-making.
Sanders established the Center in early 2001 in response to the growing interest in complexity science as a framework for understanding, influencing and developing better public policy.  The Center’s mission includes a strong emphasis on outreach to the public and policy-makers in order to promote “complexity science literacy,” which makes it unique within the field.
With her book, Strategic Thinking and the New Science: Planning in the Midst of Chaos, Complexity and Change (The Free Press, 1998), Sanders pioneered the application of chaos theory and complexity to strategic thinking.  She served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, developed and hosted a series for public television, created and directed executive education programs, and served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.
“Complexity science helps us understand the context, structure, processes and ongoing development of complex adaptive systems, such as our educational system,” Sanders said.  “It also helps us develop intuitive, associative forms of pattern recognition and use nonlinear thinking to respond to problems and, more importantly, to see and influence them before a crisis arises.  This is what makes the new science so relevant to government at all levels.”
While complexity science already has found wide applications in manufacturing, financial management, high tech and other fields, the Center is in the forefront of applying this new way of thinking to public policy.
The Washington Center for Complexity & Public Policy is offering a new workshop for the intelligence community, Strategic Intelligence Analysis in a Complex World.  It provides other educational seminars, conducts research and offers facilitation and consulting services.  The Center is located at One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036-1133.

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                                  One Dupont Circle N.W.   Suite 700   Washington D.C. 20036-1133   202 429-3733   info@complexsys.org