Carol Sanford on Living Systems Thinking (E19)

The creation of this episode was an incredible experience. Carol is shockingly sharp, disruptive beyond belief, and an absolute thrill to be in a conversation with. This episode is dripping with rich insights into regenerative and living systems thinking and I know you’re going to love it.

Here is Carol’s personal website.

Here is an article Carol wrote about potential that has informed the future direction of Making Permaculture Stronger.

Here is a link to a page with info about Carol’s books. Her latest book is called The Regenerative Human and will be released March 2020. She asked me to mention that she is still looking for people to be involved in the action-learning project she discussed in our chat. See the details of being involved in this here.

Here’s is Carol’s podcast Business Second Opinion. This episode goes through Seven Principles of Regeneration and is is well worth a listen.

Here are the Deep Pacific online workshops. Carol asked me to “Let your listeners know they are welcome. All recorded. No beginning or end. You begin when you Step on the Mat, like I learned in Aikido, and practice with all levels of experience.” I (Dan) am signing up so maybe I’ll see you there.

Here is Regenesis Group that was mentioned. For the interest of folk in the vicinity of Victoria, Australia, Regenesis member Joel Glanzberg will be running a one-day workshop on Regenerative Design in Melbourne July 2019.

Finally, here’s the conversation as a video:


  1. That was a great interview, Dan. Lots to think about!

    I do find it hard to reconcile Sanford’s insights with my distaste for the whole mega-corp world (her clients include Google, Nike, Proctor & Gamble etc.) and the business self-help vibe of her website, which seems very focused on revenue growth. Given the terrible practices of many of these organisations, and the intrinsically harmful side-effects of a massive profit-extraction machine, it’s hard to understand how a concept of ‘regeneration’ is relevant.

    Not that I’m judging Sanford for working with these organisations – I work in the corporate IT industry myself – I just struggle to understand the apparent disconnect.

    However, the ideas from the interview did really speak to me; so I’ve just started reading “No More Feedback”. Don’t want to judge the book by its cover, so to speak.

    1. I’m with you Fraser. I quickly lost interest in Carol’s website due to the corporate vibe but I am fascinated by her thinking. Would be keen to hear your thoughts once you’re finished reading ‘No More Feedback’.

  2. Possibly of interest: I put a lot more systems thinking into the current PDC than most people would. Feedback from students on the thing they most valued about the course? Systems thinking!! Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. To change the outcome we must change the system and that cannot be done from a reductionist perspective. We must understand the whole of the system.

  3. Mycellium! It’s the master pattern for everything I do!

    Networks. Nodes. Connections. Soft systems keep evolving.

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