Thoughts on the Santa Fe Institute


A topic of considerable discussion, debate, and thought for a great many of us long before a series of ever larger crises, the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) chose the theme of complexity in regulation for their annual meeting, which just concluded. I was fortunate enough to attend last year’s 25th anniversary meeting at SFI, but this year I was only able to view the final full day via webcast, which was excellent. Prior to sharing my thoughts on the important topic of simplifying regulation in a future post, which will be covered more extensively in my book in progress, I want to focus a bit on SFI.

The official SFI about page can be found here, although having written many of these descriptions myself; I’ve yet to write or read one that captures the essence of the organization, people, or contributions, so please allow the liberty of a few additional lines in first person.

I have been following SFI regularly for 15 years, and since moving to Santa Fe nearly two years ago have had many interactions. SFI essentially pioneered complexity as a discipline, but is also a proponent of what I now refer to in my own work as a mega disciplinary approach to truth seeking, without which frankly many researchers and their cultures can become blinded.

One of several strengths of SFI is their ability to draw from a very broad universe of scholars, each of whom is a leading expert in a specific discipline, but also shares an interest in both complexity theory—which affects everything else, as well as the need to work across disciplines in order to learn from each.

The intimate size and environment of SFI is I believe why so many leading scholars contribute and engage. After living in Santa Fe, visiting the campus and attending multiple events, with a great many exchanges with larger institutions, I can certainly understand the appeal for permanent faculty, visiting scholars, post docs, and business network members. Read More

Complex Adaptive Healthcare


My wife Betsy and I attended a very interesting lecture last night hosted by the Santa Fe Institute by Dr. Tim Buchman, Ph.D., M.D. who is and external professor at SFI.

Dr. Buchman’s day job is Founding Director of Emory Center for Critical Care and Professor of Surgery at Emory School of Medicine. The title of of Dr. Buchman’s lecture was: Secrets of the Heart: The Electrocardiogram, Complex Systems Science and Fundamental Laws of Biology. Read More