The first time I really understood chaos theory applied to real world
business issues was when I read Strategic Thinking and the New Science by
Irene Sanders. 

Sanders makes a clear,  compelling argument for surveying
the larger landscape to find emerging issues, and then she provides a
practical outline for identifying and analyzing that information.

--Margherita  Altobelli
Editorial Manager
Inc. Magazine

Board of Directors | Scientific Advisory Board



T. Irene Sanders, Executive Director and Founder


Ms. Sanders, author of Strategic Thinking and the New Science: Planning in the Midst of Chaos, Complexity and Change (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 1998), pioneered the application of chaos theory and complexity to the much-needed skill of strategic thinking. She created the FutureScape® planning process now being used to enhance strategic thinking/planning and scenario-building exercises for major corporations, nonprofit organizations and governments worldwide. She is a powerful and engaging speaker, educator and facilitator, who helps individuals and organizations see, understand and influence the dynamics of the real world context in which their decisions are being made.

"An Op-Ed piece in last Sunday's Washington Post was headlined, 'To Fight Terror, We Can't Think Straight.'
I commend both the article and the author to you. I have known Irene Sanders for many years. She has always
had a dynamic, creative approach to strategic planning, both for a small congressional office like mine and for global corporate enterprises.

To meet the challenge of terrorism, she advocates the use of non-linear thinking and complexity theory to help illuminate a future we can no longer see through Cold War eyes and a major power mindset. In a world of infinitely complex, adaptive and mobile systems and relationships, the study of old causes no longer yields a clear picture of future effects."

Congressman Christopher Shays
Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security
House Committee on Government Reform
Excerpt from speech, Homeland Security: Thinking Anew

Among the organizations that have invited her to speak are:
  • Applied Physics Lab, Johns Hopkins University
  • Brookings Institution
  • Central Intelligence Agency (multiple)
  • CIA/Harvard Conference on Intelligence Reform
  • City of Waco, Texas
  • Confederation of Finnish Industries
  • Cyber Conflict Studies Association
  • Defense Logistics Agency
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Inc. 500 conference
  • Ingersoll Rand Corporate
  • Johns Hopkins University, School of Business
  • National Defense University, Commandant's Lecture Series
  • NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau
  • Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
  • Pacific Area Special Operations Conference
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Society of Competititve Intelligence Professionals
  • University of Lecce (Italy), e-BMS
  • University of Illinois, Public Leadership Forum
  • University of Texas, Prigogine Center
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Walt Disney World Resorts
  • Women in Cable and Telecommunications
  • World Future Society International Symposium

    In 1998-99, she developed and directed an executive education program on the applications of complexity science to business for the Colorado Center for Chaos and Complexity at the University of Colorado. As visiting professor (2005-2007) in the Doctor of Management program at the CTU Institute for Advanced Studies, she taught online courses on creative, critical and strategic thinking. She is also principal of Sanders & Company, a strategic planning, executive education and change management firm founded in Washington, DC in 1986.

  • Ms. Sanders originated and hosted a series for public television, developed the first online MBA and M.Ed. courses on the new science, served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and later as personal consultant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the last ten years she has provided strategic thinking and planning services to many committees and individual members of the U.S. Congress and to a wide-range of state government, nonprofit and corporate clients. She is a graduate of Duke University and the Medical College of Georgia, and she completed a fellowship in organizational change at Johns Hopkins University.

    Her work has been featured in a wide-range of publications including: Art Education, Christian Science Monitor, Continental, Management Review, Foresight, The InnerEdge, The Rocky Mountain News, Urban Land and The Washington Post. Her publications.  Read Irene's interview about the applications of complexity to legal practice at the following syndicated blog for lawyers, Idealawg, written by Stephanie West Allen, JD

    Publication News: 

    As contributing author to the forthcoming book, New Urbanism and Beyond: Contemporary and Future Trends in Urban Design (Rizzoli New York, 2008), her chapter "Complex Systems Thinking and New Urbanism" provides a complexity science overview, contrasts traditional planning, design and engineering methods with the characteristics of complex adaptive systems; describes a new planning paradigm; and offers five food-for-thought observations for new urbanists. For more information,

    Scientific Advisory Board

    Michael C. Grant, PhD
    (PhD, Botany, Duke University, 1974)


    Dr. Grant is Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and Professor in the Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic (EPO) Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to his administrative duties he is an active research scientist with consistent national funding for nearly three decades and more than four dozen refereed publications covering a wide-range of topics including acid rain research, ecological and population genetics, evolutionary theory, nonlinear dynamics and cellular automata modeling.

    Through the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program he is actively involved in improving the quality of classroom teaching and science education, and has served as scientific consultant to a wide-range of public and private-sector organizations. He has won numerous teaching awards, is a much-requested speaker for both scientific and nonscientific audiences and is a U.S. Air Force Vietnam Era Veteran.

    Andrew Ilachinski, PhD
    (PhD, Theoretical Physics, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1988)

    Dr. Ilachinski, senior research analyst and project director at the Center for Naval Analysis, is a pioneer in the applications of complexity science and agent-based modeling to military thinking and twenty-first century battlefield scenarios. He pioneered the development and application of a multi-agent-based model (EINSTein) to the study of emergent properties of land combat as a complex adaptive system. It is currently being used by over three hundred academic, commercial and military operations researchers worldwide.

    He is the author of numerous articles and monographs as well as two books, both published by World Scientific Publishing Company: Artificial War: Multiagent-based Simulation of Combat (2004); and, Cellular Automata: A Discrete Universe (2001). In the forward to his most recent book, U.S. Marine Corps General Paul K. Van Riper (retired) says, “When histories of this era are written Dr. Andrew Ilachinski is likely to emerge as the ‘Father of Military Complexity Research’….Those in positions with responsibility for planning and conducting the Nation’s defense today and into the foreseeable future ignore this book at great peril for it offers deep and meaningful insights into war on land.”

    Dr. Ilachinski is also an accomplished photographer and you can see samples of his work on the Image Gallery III page of this website. A much larger collection of his work can be found here:

    Judith A. McCabe, PhD
    (PhD, Cultural Anthropology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1995)

    Dr. McCabe is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has worked as a health and social sciences research consultant to public, private non-profit and academic institutions for over twenty years. Her areas of expertise include ethnographic and qualitative research; group and institutional cultures; organizational capacity building and change; non-profit management; fundraising and grant-writing; program evaluation; community analysis and planning; and policy research and development.

    Board of Advisors
    Randolph G. Flood

    Randolph G. Flood is president and CEO of the Common-wealth Policy Institute Network, an innovative virtual nonpartisan public policy institute. CPIN,, was created to use information technology and the Internet to bring together independent results-oriented policy experts from around the globe to address important issues and propose policy initiates. He is also chief information officer of CPIN Webtech, which provides a range of web and information security services to clients, which include the Concord Coalition.

    In 1983 Mr. Flood founded Randolph G. Flood & Associates, a Washington, DC-based government relations firm which specialized in defense, maritime, environmental, international trade and procurement issues for the past twenty years. During his years as a lobbyist, Mr. Flood has been involved in almost every facet of maritime-defense work, particularly relating to foreign and domestic shipping, reflagging, port security and containerization, and strategic sealift. Mr. Flood has developed close, professional working relationships within the Maritime Administration; the Departments' of Commerce, Defense, and Transportation; U.S. Customs; the U.S. Coast Guard; and within numerous other federal agencies, many of which are now under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security.
    His clients have included domestic shipyards-Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Corporation, Moon Engineering, and Colonna's Shipyard; naval architects, Seaworthy Systems, Inc.; a maritime labor union, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association; and shipping companies, Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc. and Trailer-Bridge, Inc. Most notable of his clients was the late Malcom McLean, known as the "Father of Containerization." Mr. Flood served as Mr. McLean's liaison to the Federal government for many years.

    As a well-known Virginia political analyst with a keen insight into national affairs, Mr. Flood was the founder, first chairman and president of the Virginia Chapter of the Democratic Leadership Council (1992-1995), which began as a state affiliate of the then "New Democrat" think tank for the Clinton-Gore Administration. Heavily involved in politics at one time, Mr. Flood served as a strategist for numerous Virginia political campaigns during the 1970's. In 1977, he was a northern Virginia coordinator for the Virginians for Bonds statewide referendum campaign to raise $125 million for education, ports, mental health facilities, corrections, and recreation at the request of then-Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr., the only governor in American history to have served both as a Democrat-then later as a Republican.

    Mr. Flood served on the professional staff of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Jennings Randolph (D) of West Virginia; and later as a legislative advisor to Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (I) of Virginia. He is a graduate of Shepherd College.

    Walter F. LaMendola, PhD, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

    Dr. LaMendola is Director of Technology and Professor for the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, and Professor of Informatics at the University of Colorado. As a pioneer in the integration of technology, human services and education, Dr. LaMendola was co-founder of Denver FreeNet, a public Internet computer network; designed a 21st century technology-enhanced educational building (construction scheduled to start in 2003) and a “classroom of the future” for graduate social work education; and, has developed numerous interactive software programs for use by consumers, educators and program evaluators.

    Dr. LaMendola is the author of four books and seventy-five articles, and serves on the editorial boards of Computers in Human Services, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, and New Technology in the Human Services. He received his BA in English from St. Vincent College, an MSW in Community Organization from the University of Pittsburgh, a diploma in Sociology and Social Welfare from the University of Stockholm, and his doctorate in Social Work from the
    University of Minnesota.

    Home | About the Center | People | Seminars & Workshops |

    News & Events | FutureScape | Image Gallery | Contact Us

    back to top

    © 2002 - 2008 Washington Center for Complexity & Public Policy


    Image Gallery
    Move your mouse over the menu items.