disruptr highlights the IK Systems Lab.

22 May 2021 Read time: 2 min

In disruptr, Deakin University highlights the work of Dr. Tyson Yunkaporta and the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab that recently received seed funding from Kearney Group.

Released in 2019, Dr. Yunkaporta’s book “Sand Talk explores the connected methodologies of Indigenous Thinking and how its application could help us develop new approaches to some of the world’s biggest challenges,” writes disruptr.

“Today, as a senior research fellow at Deakin University, Dr. Yunkaporta is exploring how to create a space where Indigenous practitioners – not just academics – can come together and apply their thinking and their systems to different contexts around the world.”

“By shifting our thinking to be about the knowledge that exists in connected systems, Dr. Yunkaporta says we can solve a lot of the problems and issues we face on a global scale,” the article continues.


Solving ‘sticky and complex’ problems.


For Yunkaporta, Indigenous Knowledge helps when applied to the world’s most ‘sticky and complex’ issues; that is, those problems that are not a single issue but rather, many interconnected problems that collectively contribute to our global meta crisis.

For example, sustainability is one ‘sticky and complex’ issue that has only been taken seriously recently.

“A lot of complexity theory and systems thinking is beginning to inform the way we meet these challenges around the globe,” writes Yunkaporta. “I think that presents a unique opportunity for our Indigenous communities and practitioners of ancient, complex thinking to really be able to make a massive contribution to this change.”


Bringing IK Systems to modern settings.


The concepts of Sand Talk are already being applied across a range of fields and disciplines; from artificial intelligence and economics, cybernetics to health policy.

Back in 2019, it was Sand Talk’s description of kinship that resonated deeply for Kearney Group’s CEO, Paul Kearney.

Today, kinship models are in use at Kearney Group. They help us anticipate how both our client and employee communities interact. And, these models help us deliver complex financial advice in more meaningful and human-centric ways.

“Knowledge exists within the relationships we develop, and Kearney is invested in seeing how Dr. Yunkaporta’s work can further establish kinship in society’s protocols and systems,” writes disruptr.


IK in the future.

Australia – like much of the world – has a long way to go to fully recognise the potential of Indigenous thinking.

Though, the IK Systems Lab at Deakin is a wonderful and important step, says Kearney.

For Dr. Yunkaporta, he hopes to see “IK Systems Labs pop up around the country and attract Indigenous thinkers from [around] the world.”

Certainly, with support from Kearney Group, the Lab is that much closer to realising this goal.

Read the full article in disruptr.


Get involved.


Want to support the IK Systems Lab? Interested in ensuring “progress” moves us towards a healthier, more sustainable future? Moreover, are you certain that problem-solving must include Indigenous voices? Contact:

Jonathan Cosgrove
Director, Development Advancement
Deakin University
Tel: +61 3 9244 5862 or email


Speak to the team.