Dr Deon Cloete is a complexity management and systems leadership consultant, researcher and lecturer. In his role as 'pracademic' he works cooperatively with individuals, groups and organisations to co-create systems leadership through systemic change interventions, systems innovations, systems entrepreneurship and social-ecological co-curatorship. Deon has a PhD in Complex Organisational Change and Development from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in association with the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) with the title: 'Towards re-imagining the roles of change agents from a critical complexity perspective: An exploratory action research approach'. The research further developed the notion of systems change curators and provided a change agency praxis framework for systems change practitioners to enact alternative ways of being-becoming and doing for transformative systems innovations, entrepreneurship and systemic change.

As consultant Deon has led strategic organisational development projects, coordinated stakeholder engagements and managed a variety of project teams at different levels of management. His transdisciplinary specialist knowledge of complex adaptive systems and complexity-informed competencies has enabled him to intuitively understand the nature and roles of change agents in strategic business analysis, modelling and systems change implementation processes in leading SME’s and NGO’s. He also serves as a co-director of a social enterprise tech start-up called Step Above Drone Technologies and Mapping.

Deon’s passion is to apply complexity thinking to fast-paced organisational contexts in order to re-think and re-invent whole systems change approaches with leaders to enable resilient and sustainable business transformations that confront global challenges. He see himself growing as a systems change leader and co-creating re-imaginations of the roles of change agents in management. His proven expertise in developing context-specific strategic interventions in leading universities and organisations has assisted to transform the roles of key changemakers to become game-changers in their industries.


Deon holds a Honours degree in Counselling Psychology (including Industrial Psychology) through UNISA and a Masters degree in Clinical Pastoral Psychology (M.Th) from Stellenbosch University. He completed his PhD in 2017 with University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in association with the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST).

Deon is a chartered Organisational Development Practitioner with the South African Board for People Practices and a research member of the South African Organisational Development Network. Apart from consulting, Deon is an experienced therapist certified in Narrative, Play, Rational Emotive Behaviour and Person Centred therapy. He is also an registered coach and mentor (COMENSA) and is an accredited Integrative Enneagram Practitioner (psychometric indicator).    
Since 2004, Deon has led a variety of change interventions in organisations as an certified ISO 9001:2000 (now 2015) Quality Management System Implementer. During this time he realised the need for developing approaches that result in sustainable change in organisations. Research indicates that nearly 70% of all change management interventions fail. This remains a major challenge to a variety of change practitioners and was one of the drivers that motivated his doctoral research journey that developed an approach to organisational change and development that radically re-imagines how we implement change and develop change programme interventions. 

Areas of expertise

  • Complex Adaptive Systems & Critical Complexity Applications;

  • Organisational Change and Development;

  • Change Agency Praxis;

  • Systems and Social Innovations for Systemic Change;

  • Transformative and Transdisciplinary Action Research Methods.

Transformability Consulting Expertise:    

  • Personal, Cultural and Team Development

  • Systems Leadership Training

  • Coaching, Mentoring and Psychological Counselling

  • Social Innovation & Systems Change - Social Labs

  • Clinical Psychology & Personality Assessments

  • Navigating Complex Systems Change

  • Critical Thinking, Creative Problem Solving and Continual Learning

  • Conflict Management, Mediation and Interpersonal Development

  • Systems Entrepreneurship

  • Communities of Practice & Transformative Spaces (T-Labs)

  • Enabling Systems Change Co-Curation