About Joanne

My Story

I’m a facilitator, a designer, and a pathfinder. I believe that a good design filters noises and lets signals speak, and explores uncertainties along the edges of order and chaos while connecting the past, the present, and the future.

I’m a facilitator, a designer, and a pathfinder. I used to be a solution creator until I understood that “today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions” and realized that solutions to complex problems were often hidden in plain sight within our communities and ourselves. My role expanded and shifted to engaging with communities to unlock ‘hidden’ solutions to wicked problems plaguing our societies and ourselves.

That’s what motivated me to start the Systems Innovation (Si) Toronto Hub (Si Toronto Hub), a community of practitioners doing systems innovation through new, decentralized ways of organizing and approaches. The hub aims to unlock the huge unrealized potentials of systems thinking and complexity science and apply the ideas and methods toward wicked challenges. We leverage an extensive and evolving set of canvases and tools from Si and partner up with and connect communities, businesses, governments, and not-for-profits in our collaboration and co-creation journey.

The hub is at the beginning of a long journey. Connect with me and join me at the hub, and explore together how we may collaborate and uncover those hidden solutions.

Intrigued by cultures (indigenous/western/eastern), languages (natural/invented), and thinking patterns (parts/whole), my current research focuses on life-centred design (vs. human-centred design), and indigenous worldview and earth/ecological wisdom (vs. the dominant, abstract, mechanistic liner worldview).

My fascination with complex systems started in 2012 after a fluke encounter with starlings murmuration (I described the experience in this blog). It led me to leave the structured confines of large organizations as a business architect. I took a year off in 2014 and researched systems thinking, complexity science, design, and psychology. In my freelance practice, I help clients solve wicked, complex problems through emergent design and evolutionary architecture. (Clients include the U.S. Dept of VA and Bridgewater Associates.)

It was Peter Senge who said: “today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions” (P57, The Fifth Discipline). That’s because our solutions are often based on the same principles and thinking that created the problems in the first place. Without shifting our conventional ways of thinking and methods of inquiry, we will continue creating more problems.

We live in a strange age where we are drowning in information but seem to constantly look for more. We are connected/online 247 but seem to be increasingly lonely and isolated. We know more things than ever but seem to be devoid of understanding and wisdom. As a designer and a pathfinder, how to filter noise and let the signal speak is a core issue.

Have a good day!