Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quantum theory, chaos and occupational therapy

I have an Interdisciplinary Team Process class that basically focuses on how to effectively work in teams. We do a lot of creative things in this class.

One of the subjects we are covering is 'chaos.' We're reading a book by Margaret Wheatley that discusses how chaos can be effective in organizations. This is also known as systems theory or chaos theory. The premise is that flow of information and the formation of relationships beyond hierarchical lines opens the door for organizations to self-organize and become productive, creative, adaptive and effective. She basically says that leaders control an organization when instead they should allow organizations to be more chaotic to accomplish their goals. Interestingly, she uses quantum physics (yes, that is not a typo) to explain this.

So, last week our instructors gave us a blank sheet of paper, representing chaos, and told us to do something with it. Some groups crumpled the paper and threw it in the trash, some groups made a bowtie, some made an airplane, a few of us made those fortune telling thingies and others left the paper blank. We then had to describe why we did what we did and if we all agreed to do it (and if not, why not) and how we came to the conclusion to do what we did.

It was interesting.

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