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Contributor Bios

Joseph Carrabis  Joseph Carrabis
Richard Lent  David Morf
David Morf  David Morf


Tom Bigda-PeytonTom Bigda-Peyton is an organizational consultant, researcher, and educator who has spent more than twenty-five years working with managers, teams, and organizations. Research shows that most of the knowledge adults use to do their jobs comes from informal, on-the-job learning rather than formal training or classroom learning. Tom has focused his efforts on helping individuals, organizations, and social networks surface and use tacit knowledge, close the gap between learning and action, create workplace environments which foster informal learning, and learn from surprises, successes, and accidental innovations.
Tom is the founder of Action Learning Systems, a research and consulting practice started in 1992 to help teams and organizations widen and accelerate the impact of desired changes. Action Learning Systems uses four related methodologies to meet these objectives: the Power of Stories, Dynamic Evaluation, Team Action Learning, and the Innovation Strategy Framework.
With the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Action Learning Systems is a Founding Partner of the “Three R’s Network: Resilience, Reliability, and Results.” The Three R’s Network is a consortium of standard-setters across several industries, including aviation, health care, chemical, nuclear, aeronautics, transportation, and government. The group sponsors demonstration projects, conference, publications, and other activities directed toward cross-sector learning, system-level resilience, and sustainable improvements in performance throughout the targeted industry sectors. In addition, Tom is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Aviation Safety Research at St. Louis University (CASR), and a member of the steering committee of the Safety Across High Consequence Industries (SAHI) conference.
As President of the Center for Adaptive Solutions (Boston, Mass.), Tom works on research, consulting, and educational initiatives which assist with addressing chronic, intractable, systemic problems. Areas of focus include economic development, energy, the environment, healthcare, and other high-consequence industries. Tom’s work with story-based action learning is a key enabler of knowledge transfer, cross-learning, and campaigning for change.
In U.S. healthcare, Tom works with physicians, hospitals, employers, allied health professionals, federally-qualified health centers, and health plans to dramatically reduce the cost of care while improving clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, quality, safety, and sustainability. Current initiatives are underway in Maine, New Hampshire, Mississippi, and Illinois. Adaptive Health also works with grassroots health improvement movements, such as the Maine Health Management Coalition and the New Hampshire Citizens’ Health Initiative.
In Ontario, Tom is working as part of a team under the sponsorship of the Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) to carry out a three-year project called the “Health Transformation Learning Partnership.” Involving three acute care and community care organizations, this project applies a learning journey model to the problems of system integration, transition, and transformation. The program implements a Strategy Management and Learning System and includes organizational learning, systemic thinking, strategic alignment, balanced scorecarding, and the design and implementation of mutual accountability agreements. Lessons learned will be disseminated to the sector through workshops, publications, on-line learning, and working forums.
Tom’s research interests include the use of intuition in decision-making, as well as reframing, widening, and focusing the nature of “evidence” that is considered valid in system-level decision-making. He is developing a science of rare events, based on the work of his mentors (Chris Argyris and Donald Schon), the past generation of work in system-level safety improvement, and practice-based research on physician diagnosis and intervention strategies in high-risk, low-frequency clinical areas such as pediatric cardiac surgery and neurosurgery.
Tom has worked extensively in other sectors as well, including projects at the following:

  • Corning, Inc., Global R&D Labs;
  • Fidelity Investments, Fixed Income Division;
  • Fidelity Investments, Corporate Risk Management and Knowledge Management ;
  • Otis Elevator Company, Global Product Strategy;
  • Lenscrafters, Corporate Marketing Strategy and Knowledge Management;
  • The Hartford Insurance Group, Affinity Insurance Division; and
  • Global R&D Consortium, including Corning, United Technologies, Delphi Automotive, and Lucent Telecommunications.

In these engagements, Tom’s focus has been on managing corporate transitions, developing new growth areas for the firm, and fostering sustainable changes in large, complex systems.
From 1989 through 1992, Tom founded and ran a consulting business (Collaborative Action Associates) and a research practice (Center for Management Innovation) intended to advance practical applications of organizational learning and action learning methods and tools. Key clients included Digital Equipment Corporation, Polaroid, and the Office of the Auditor General, Government of Canada.
From 1985 through 1989, Tom did his doctoral work at Harvard and M.I.T. with two pioneers in the field of organizational learning and system dynamics. In addition to his doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Intervention, Tom holds Master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Harvard.


Are you coming to the NextStage Toronto BootCamp 23-27 July 2012? You should, you know. Now, back to our sponsor…

Joseph Carrabis is Founder and CRO of The NextStage Companies (NextStage Evolution, NextStage Global and NextStage Analytics), companies that specialize in helping clients improve their marketing efforts and understand customer behavior. You can reach NextStage Evolution at 603 791 4925 or via info(at)nextstagevolution(dot)com.
Carrabis has authored 25 books (most recently Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History) and over 500 articles in five areas of expertise. His books have covered cultural anthropology, database technology and methods, information mechanics, language acquisition, learning and education theory, mathematics, social network topologies, and psycholinguistic modeling. His articles have covered computer technology, cultural-knowledge modeling, equine management, knowledge studies and applications, library science, martial arts, myth and folklore, neurolinguistic, psychodynamic and psychosocial modeling, group and tribal behavior, and social interactions in NYC and more. His writings are available at AllBusiness.com, An Economy of Meanings, BizMediaScience, iMediaConnections, That Think You Do, TheAnalyticsEcology and Triquatrotritecale.
Carrabis is a Senior Research Fellow and Board Advisory Member for the Society for New Communications Research, a Founder, Senior Researcher and Director of Predictive Analytics for the Center for Semantic Excellence and a member of Scientists Without Borders. He was selected as an International Ambassador for Psychological Science in 2010 specializing in trauma and AIDS therapies and serves as an Advisor to SaveTheChildren.org
Carrabis has been a lead speaker, guest presenter and panelist at several industry, trade and academic conferences and conventions, ranging from The MIT Enterprise Forum to the International Communications Association Conference on the scientific side and from the eMetrics Summits to XChange to iMedia Summits on the business side. His current 2010 schedule includes social media trainings for Health Industries and appearances at Ad:Tech conferences.
Carrabis was awarded a patent for NextStage’s Evolution Technology, a broad patent creating a new field of technology and applications. Evolution Technology allows any programmable device to understand human thought and respond accordingly.


Paul HutchinsonPaul Hutchinson is a management consultant specializing in areas of business development and sales process and technology improvement.  His practice encompasses  New England and the Midwest. His primary area of focus includes assisting business owners and senior business teams to clarify their business development and sales thinking, and align their sales processes against their objectives. Prior to starting his management consulting practice five years ago, Paul worked as a manager and senior analyst in several Fortune 500 companies, and was co-owner of a private consulting firm. He has over 25 years of corporate and private experience in the software and technology industries. Paul is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts.


Dr. Richard LentDr. Richard Lent partners with his clients to help them work, learn and change together to achieve the results they want. His approach supports organizations in making better use of the capabilities of their leaders and employees across all levels as they work to implement new strategies.
Since co-founding Brownfield & Lent, he has led successful initiatives to improve performance in retail, manufacturing, research and development, and professional service organizations of all sizes.Some of his work has focused on individual teams or departments. Other efforts have involved hundreds of people across multiple functions,
locations, and countries.


David MorfDavid Morf is an applied economist and organizational practitioner creating systemic operations connecting strategy and tactics. For 40 years, he has fostered innovation, collaboration, transition, and growth in business, regulatory, technological, and working environments. He enables firms, agencies, and organizations to recognize and benefit from emerging scenarios with new tools and fresh perspectives for effective action. Learn More
Currently Partner, US Adaptive Health Solutions, and Founding Member, Center for Adaptive Solutions. Morf’s AHS focus is the team’s macro-economic vision to improve population health, lower social and labor overhead, expand capital and labor location flexibility, increase wages and work team productivity, and drive job-building US competitiveness. He reframes issues and concepts, and assesses re-use and scale, as a value-added operational “sounding board” to continually connect AHS tactics with the tracking strategy of enabling systemic demand and supply for a disintermediated, technologically astute, collaborative, patient-centric US health operations framework aimed at coherent prevention, wellness, and provider responsiveness.
Previous work includes analyzing economic issues, such as modeling a team-based economic review that demonstrated a proposed non-systemic multi-state Tennessee Valley Authority-wide water diversion policy could not deliver value. Morf later wore his MBA hat to locate early adopter interest in fundamentally new online collaborative multi-region dynamic economic modeling technology, and provided strategic feedback on market structure, prospect needs, and product evolution.
Morf’s work in agency operations includes several US Agency for International Development and Asian Development Bank projects (USAID, ADB). His task area supported emerging national securities markets through organizational and operational strengthening, governance, and information transparency at securities regulatory agencies in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Related tasks included meeting with the Securities Exchange of Thailand to assess the SET’s trading system plans in context with the Ministry of Finance project to create a Thai securities regulator, and with the Philippine National Archives to assess records management lessons learned at the Philippine SEC.
Prior operations teamwork transformed workflow automation at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Petrie Stores Corp, and Bamberger’s/Macy*s. On a key project with the SEC Executive Director’s Office, Morf discovered and documented the selective review process created by SEC disclosure staff for managing 110,000 SEC filings per year. He then teamed to timely match resources with the most risky filings by balancing work processes, organizational structure, and the use of professionals, support staff, and information systems based on work actually taking place in and across SEC units. This work contributed directly to the subsequent ability of SEC professional and support operations to implement effectively the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval system (EDGAR) for company filings.
Morf also applied his expertise in SEC operations on the team implementing the SEC’s Market Oversight Surveillance System (MOSS). MOSS integrated market participant, quote, trade, clearing, and settlement data across equity and derivatives markets, with issuer, registrant, and other in-house SEC data. Then daily and for studies, MOSS identified irregularities and imbalances that enabled the SEC directly to see, rather than incompletely infer, systemic operational and behavioral matters of interest with stock and options trading and related intermarket self-regulatory shortfalls for implementing the National Market System.
Later at Petrie Stores, Morf teamed on firm-wide functional system design and implementation to enable buyers and operating staff across the multi-warehouse specialty apparel chain’s 1,700 outlets to connect merchandise purchase orders, receiving, distribution, and sales with 100 million tickets and global supply chain logistics control. At Bamberger’s, Morf discovered that multi-center retail distribution processes were subject to accounting oversight but not effective operations control. Macy*s later absorbed Bamberger’s and applied its own operations.
Subsequent work expedited digital market data adoption by the securities industry and news wire services based on projects with the securities industry’s first real-time digital market data service at Standard & Poor’s Trading Systems (formerly Monchik-Weber Corp) and United Press International. Morf initiated and managed the S&PTS technical customer service team. Then he applied the S&PTS digital market data to achieve turnarounds for the real-time Option Monitor Service Plus at S&PTS, and to double UPI newspaper interest in new PC-based digital stocks tables by teaming with UPI’s IT and marketing and their technology suppliers.
Other work focused on Future Learning International, a start-up knowledge asset company. The FLI team applied global infomediary concepts and proprietary inference engine technology to leverage community-driven preference insights from observed behaviors reflecting current and ongoing neurologically-based visual and verbal activity.
Academic: Brown University AB honors in economics; Stanford MBA.
Military: US Army.
Specialties: Leverage ideas across disciplines and professions for growth — strategic economic framing and modeling, marketplace creation and product conception, process and resource strategy, product and business strategy, securities regulatory operations, specialty retail operations and global supply chain controls, US healthcare framework.
International: Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta’


Dr. Clarissa SawyerDr. Clarissa Sawyer is a consultant, action researcher, and instructor specializing in in the use of story-based methods for discovering and disseminating tacit knowledge of best practices. Clarissa has worked as an organizational effectiveness consultant for Arthur D. Little, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the MITRE Corporation. Clarissa is a Senior Consultant at Action Learning Systems and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Adaptive Solutions ( Boston, MA) where she specializes in widening the spread of innovation across communities of practice. Clarissa has a doctorate from Harvard University in Organizational Behavior and Intervention, where she specialized in leadership, adult learning in the workplace, and reflective practice. Clarissa’s doctoral research was on leadership, transition, and learning among women college presidents and was influenced by her work with organizational learning pioneers Chris Argyris and Don Schon and leadership scholars Ron Heifetz and Lee Bolman. At present she teaches action research to graduate students at the University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA).

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