Public lectures and events

Complex Is Not the Same as Complicated

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 1:30 PM

Our world is becoming increasingly complex, fraught with serious problems such as climate change, mass migration, terrorism, and epidemics of obesity and chronic disease. Yet we continue to try to understand these complex challenges by using “complicated thinking.” Complicated problems are predictable, controllable and designable, so working out their specific causes can identify helpful solutions. On the other hand, complex problems are unpredictable, self-organizing and emergent; they require “systems thinking.” Working out the causes of a complex problem is less helpful than focusing on the relationships, boundaries and framing of the systems involved. We will explore the differences between complicated and complex, and the implications for our approach to today’s urgent problems.

This free event is co-sponsored by the Liberal Arts and 55+ Program and the SFU Seniors Lifelong Learners Society.

Date(s): Sat, Jan 25, 1:30–3 p.m.

Location: Room 1900, SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)

Admission: Seats for Free Forums are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the talk. While we cannot guarantee or reserve seats, there will be 200 available.

Related topic(s): Liberal Arts


  • Diane Finegood

    Diane Finegood, PhD, is a fellow in SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, where each spring she guides a cohort of undergraduates in developing their practice of dialogue and systems thinking.



Phone: 778-782-8000 (or toll-free 1-844-782-8877)