The New Copernican Revolution: Fritjof Capra on the Shift to ‘The Systems View of Life’


Image courtesy Fritjof Capra

I have been working with Fritjof on the development, management and evolution of Capra Course, Fritjof’s new on-line course. I therefore had the opportunity to discuss with Fritjof the importance to global brands of developing their own systems view of life, and what guidance and inspiration change agents working with brands can learn.

SR: If global brands take the systems view of life as their guiding principle for leadership, what lessons can their managers and leaders learn?

FC: This is a big question, which I discuss in detail in my book and in an entire lecture of Capra Course. One of the key discoveries of the systems view of life is the insight that the network is the basic pattern of organization of all living systems. Therefore, a business organization will be alive — i.e. flexible, resilient, and creative — when it recognizes and empowers the living networks, or “communities of practice,” that exist within it. Leadership, in the systems view, means facilitating the emergence of novelty — in other words, creativity — within these communities of practice. “Emergence” is a key concept of the systems view of life.

SR: In recent years, Change Management has emerged as a central approach to the implementation of transitioning programmes in large organisations, but the actual track record is generally agreed to be poor. How can the systemic understanding of biological and social networks lead to more effective change initiatives?

FC: Systems science teaches us that living systems continually regenerate themselves by transforming or replacing their components. They undergo continual structural changes while preserving their web-like patterns of organization. Understanding life means understanding its inherent change processes. This is an important theme in my textbook and my course. Once we have that understanding, we can begin to design processes of organizational change accordingly and to create human organizations that mirror life’s adaptability, diversity and creativity.

The full interview can be read on Sustainable Brands: The New Copernican Revolution: : Fritjof Capra on the Shift to ‘The Systems View of Life’

The first edition of Capra Course will launch in April 2016. For more information please go to