Complex Systems and How Complex Non-Profits can Harness the Flow of Information

Document Type



Non-profits must continuously adapt themselves to changing circumstances, but they often lack the resources necessary to adapt successfully. This paper proposes a model to help non-profits overcome this challenge. It explains the role of information in the adaptation of complex systems and suggests a process that non-profits can follow to direct the flow of this information. The Information for Innovation Model (IIM) presented in the paper explains how the inflow and outflow of information influences a system’s adaptation. A series of steps are then proposed for the design of Communities of Practice (CoP) that can help organisations implement the model. Librarians, trained in information-seeking and focused on increasing their reach beyond the library, can support a non-profit following these steps. This paper contributes to the literature on complexity science by articulating a process that organisations can follow to influence the inflow and outflow of information. This process highlights new roles for both CoPs and librarians within non-profits. This is important because non-profits often lack resources necessary for innovation, and librarians are looking for new ways to extend their reach.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Freeburg, D. (2020). Complex Systems and How Complex Non-Profits can Harness the Flow of Information. Journal Of Information & Knowledge Management, 19(03).