The Systems Intelligence approach that we have developed with a number of associates and students in the course of the past five years at Helsinki University of Technology, offers a major opening for the understanding of leadership. The perspective is rich in terms of potential relevance for the actual conduct of leadership, we believe. This is because of the fruitful crossfertilization the approach creates between conceptual and theoretical considerations on the one hand, and an interest in actual praxis, on the other.
Our starting point is the conviction that there is holistic, systemic ingenuity to human action and to human leadership action that should be met head-on. This calls for the description, analysis and conceptualization of actual practices in a mode that takes for granted the intelligence of those practices even when that intelligence cannot be approached with conventional methods or in terms of explicit knowledge or strict objective rationalism. The Systems Intelligence perspective wants to bring back the human element of leadership – categories such as choice, subjectivity, experience and shared experience, instinct, sensitivity, inspiration, emotional energy and association, without dismissing the more traditional categories of control and prediction, analysis and calculation, and objectivity.