Skip to main content

Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Solving Complex Problems with Nexus Thinking with Julio M. Ottino

Solving the world's most complex problems, such as those the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle, requires new ways of thinking. 

In this episode, Julio M. Ottino, Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Northwestern University, discusses his new book The Nexus, which is a call to “augmenting” our knowledge in the face of complex global challenges, by bringing together the insights, and the conceptual moves, of art, technology, and science.

Julio M. Ottino

Clearly, an economist has a pair of glasses through which they see the world, which is different than a political scientist, different than an anthropologist, is very different than a civil engineer, for example. Our question was, if you are so inclined, could you augment and have another pair of glasses through which you can see a broader reality, a broader set of possible ideas? Because, at this moment, we need a broader set of ideas to attack the problems in the world. It was the realization that there are lots of preconceptions out there. And the question is how can you find people who are good at navigating these spaces? And my belief is that the people who can operate in these joined domains, the union of all the domains, the nexus, these will be the leaders of the future.”

–  Julio M. Ottino, Dean, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Background reading

Subscribe to Breaking Boundaries wherever you listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode:

Google Podcasts:

spotify-podcast-badge-blk-wht-165x40.png en_google_podcasts_badge_2x.png us_uk_apple_podcasts_listen_badge_rgb.svg us_listenon_amazonmusic_button_white_rgb_5x.png stitcher.jpg