Understanding complexity

Harold Jarche

Thinking of complex adaptive systems as merely complicated entities that can be regulated like machines can lead to disaster, as Niall Ferguson shows in his recent book. Human systems are complex. Today’s large, complicated organizations are now facing complex business environments that require agility in simultaneously learning and working. A schematic history of human civilization reflects a growing complexity of the collective behavior of human organizations.

Complex or Chaotic?

Dave Snowden

The distinction between complexity and chaos theory can be problematic depending on who you are talking with, or what you are reading. There are also some mildly worrying differences emerging between its use in the social and natural sciences; an especial concern as complexity provides the basis for a realist and pragmatic account of social systems and a truly trans-disciplinary approach to human understanding.

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Complex knowledge

Harold Jarche

Last week I spent several hours each day, for four consecutive days, trying to share complex knowledge. I was reminded once again of how much time it takes to share complex (implicit) knowledge. To really share complex knowledge takes a willingness to listen as well as the time and space to do so. complexity Learning Wirearchy I had my understanding of communities of practice, personal knowledge management, leadership, and innovation that I wanted to share.

2014 Education + Sydney ALERT

Dave Snowden

So for 2014 I will be present for some days on all the London courses which will be residential at the old Civil Service Training College near Heathrow. For those in Australian and New Zealand it means that this is the LAST opportunity in 2014 to attend the programme with me teaching the bulk, aided by Zhen from our Singapore office. A core part of Cognitive Edge's mission/business is education and our courses have developed over the years in a messily coherent way.

Intervening in a complex domain

Dave Snowden

A good conversation in Moscow this morning with David Anderson around and about the issue of managing a complex system and as is the way with discussion a half formed idea or two coalesced. I've been teaching how to intervene in a complex system for years, developing and then using the ABIDE perspective question for example. Underneath this of course we have some principles, namely that you cannot determine the outcome in a complex system.

Organize for Complexity

Harold Jarche

” Well I think Niels has answered much of that question himself, in his recent book Organize for Complexity. We call this “disciplined practice” Fads like business analytics, knowledge management, and big data will never make organizations fit for complexity. So what does Organize for Complexity cover? Complex markets require decentralization, combined with market-like coordination. Books complexity ConnectedEnterprise Wirearchy

Complexity and Public Administration

Dave Snowden

Some 10 years ago now when I first became interested in how complexity science might be used in public administration there was a body of thinking but relatively few practical examples of applications. This has brought attention to approaches informed by complexity science for working with intractable problems as well as a way to square the circle of making localization workable and relevant. So what is applying complexity thinking to public policy really all about?

The Complex Nature of Cloud-based Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Cloud Computing Complex Systems Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy By now, most will agree that cloud computing is a major transformational force in the world of IT. But, cloud has not the easiest concept to grasp. Not that long ago, even people who agreed that something big and profound was going on, were not totally quite sure what it was they were excited about.

Absorbing complexity with PKM

Harold Jarche

Anne Marie McEwan explains its effects, in Why Your Network is Your Life Support System : The concept implies that organisations that fail to distribute responsibility for absorbing complexity will eventually cease to be viable – they will not be resilient against shocks coming at them from their external environment. We both use social technologies to reach out into the complexity and try to make sense of it. With complex problems there is not often a simple correct answer.

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AITD National Conference 2014

Harold Jarche

Valued work, and the environments in which it takes place, is becoming more complex. In complexity, we can determine the relationship between cause and effect only in retrospect. In complex work environments, the optimal way to do work is to constantly probe the environment and test emergent practices. Sydney Harbour. I will be speaking tomorrow at the AITD national conference in Sydney, NSW. Here is the interview I had with the staff prior to leaving Canada.

Preparing Students for an Increasingly Complex Business World

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Are engineering and management schools adequately preparing students for our fast-changing, highly complex business world? Beyond these specific competencies, the study team uncovered a need for what they called Third Space Thinking - a more holistic level of thinking that helps individuals examine complex problems from different perspectives in order to arrive at more creative, out-of-the-box solutions. “The

Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Harold Jarche

We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. Most organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. A connected enterprise starts by building a foundation of trust, embracing networks, and then managing complexity. Networks enable organizations to deal with complexity by empowering people to connect with whom they need to, without permission. Complexity. Complexity ConnectedEnterprise

Re-wiring for the Complex Workplace

Harold Jarche

Note: The following article appears in Inside Learning Technologies & Skills – May 2014. Complexity is the new normal. Inside Learning Technologies & Skills – May 2014. Today’s complicated organizations are now facing increasingly complex business environments that require agility in simultaneously learning and working. Re-wiring for complexity. Organizations need to understand complexity instead of adding more complication.

Friday’s finds for 2014

Harold Jarche

Here are the best of 2014. “ Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialized. Every fortnight I collate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I post the best as Friday’s Finds. The nature of work is changing. People’s relationship with work is changing. The changes to society will be vast. ” – @gapingvoid.

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MX 2014: Big Topics, Smart Leaders, Supportive Community

Adaptive Path

MX 2014 is right around the corner, March 16-17 in San Francisco. On the heels of last year’s conference we reached out to attendees to learn what key ideas and topics they thought would be important to focus on in 2014. Kate Rutter is Principal at intelleto.com , where she creates visual explanations that make complex ideas simple, memorable, and shareable.

Zipcar at MX 2014: Obsessing About The Member Experience

Adaptive Path

Leading up to Lesley’s session at the Managing Experience Conference this March, I got the chance to dig into how she’s evolved the team and the organization to passionately pursue great customer experiences, at scale, across what could potentially be such a complex service. How do you successfully move an organization to obsess over the customer experience, then invest and realize the results? Lesley Mottla, Executive Vice President of Product and Member Experience at Zipcar should know.

Complexity, resilience, and safety culture

Dave Snowden

Creating and Leading a Resilient Safety Culture is our new training course that brings together resilience thinking with complexity and Cynefin to offer a unique and practical approach to shifting safety cultures in organizations. Liviu is a complexity practitioner working in the area next generation air transportation systems.

On the Complex Evolution toward Mobile Digital Payments

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In addition, by reaching out to financial institutions, merchants, application developers and others, Apple is helping bring together the different players in the payments ecosystem, something that’s absolutely essential to succeed in such a complex undertaking. Let’s hope that initiatives like Apple Pay will help propel forward the complex evolution toward mobile digital payments. .

UX Week 2014 Keynote Josh Clark on the Future of Digital Product Design

Adaptive Path

JC: Data can lull you into a sense of reassurance that your hypotheses and belief systems are ironclad when it’s not necessarily so, especially when you’re getting into the complexities of large patterns of huge numbers of human beings and their behaviors. Josh: The more complex, the more surprises. Josh Clark’s particular mix of practical realism and thoughtful reflection is an ideal match for UX Week.

Networks, Information, and Complex Adaptive Systems

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

Networks'' and ''Complex adaptive systems'' are two very different things. Under the heading "A believable theory? Actually, yes it is. Jon Dron offers a longish paragraph in two parts. In the first part, he outlines a view of my theory he thinks is OK, while in the second part he expands on the ''But.'' On this post I will focus only on the first part, and indeed, only on one sentence in the first part.

Why is it so Difficult to Make Long-Term Predictions?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

These are some of the questions that went through my mind as I read Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014 , an article by Isaac Asimov written around the time of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. In the article he imagines what the world in 2014 would be like, 50 years into the future as envisioned in 1964. For example, he wrote that: “By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.

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Reflections on Bitcoin

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

I usually tell people that the development of digital money ecosystems is such a complex undertaking that it’s best, at least for now, to stick to traditional currencies, e.g., $, £, €, ¥,?, Andreessen compares Bitcoin in 2014 to personal computers in 1975 and the Internet in 1993. At a panel in the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Yale economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Schiller said that Bitcoin “is just an amazing example of a bubble.”

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The Evolution of the Internet of Very Smart Things

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

These factors eventually led to significantly increased management complexities and costs. Cloud Computing Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Innovation Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy I recently saw a very interesting presentation , - From Cloud to Fog: The Internet of Things , - by Cisco executive Michael Enescu.

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The Science of Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Innovation remains a subject in need of serious attention, especially given the emergence of our highly complex and unpredictable digital economy. It’s an increasingly complex, collaborative venture requiring access to a variety of resources, skills and institutions. . Complex Systems Diversity Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Society and Culture

A Growing Backlash Against the Relentless Advances in Technology?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In the end, innovation is a journey from the past and present into an unknown future, - a highly complex journey that we are all a part of. Complex Systems Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy Otherwise serious concepts sometimes end up as overused buzzwords.

Why Do We Need Data Science when We’ve Had Statistics for Centuries?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The article discusses the key skills data scientists should have, starting with machine learning , a complex concept which Dhar explains in a particularly simple way. . The emphasis on predictability typically favors Occam’s razor, or succinctness, since simpler models are more likely to hold up on future observations than more complex ones, all else being equal.”.

The Global Business Environment: Success or Struggle?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Service solutions often involve sociotechnical problems that not only have to deal with large scale IT infrastructures but with the even more complex issues involved in human and organizational behaviors. Lots to think about in 2014 and beyond. Complex Systems Economic Issues Innovation Management and Leadership Services Innovation Society and Culture Technology and Strategy

Disruptive Innovation Revisited

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Economic Issues Innovation Management and Leadership Society and Culture Technology and Strategy The recent New Yorker article, - The Disruption Machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong , - by Harvard history professor Jill Lepore , has led to a flurry of opinions on disruptive innovation. The New Yorker described the article as “Rethinking the innovation craze.”

Thinking simply, in context

Dave Snowden

Now complexity theory is if anything a more radical shift in our understanding and it can hurt those accustomed to the case based approach to management, repeating recipes derived from past practice. Then the three basic heuristics of complexity management: Work with finely grained objects. If course some people respond simplistically the two most common being: Assuming that everything is complex in human systems and thus order is not possible.

The New Era of Smart, Connected Products

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

We generally think of products as physical entities, - e.g., clothes, light bulbs, appliances, cars, - some quite simple and some much more complex, built using sophisticated mechanical and/or electrical components. The article introduces a whole new class of smart connected products - “complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity in myriad ways.”.

Some Puzzling Questions about Innovation in the Digital Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In engineering, we made huge progress in applying science and technology to develop increasingly complex physical objects and infrastructures, such as railroads, cars, airplanes, chemical plants, refineries, power stations, bridges, skyscrapers, computers, microprocessors, and so on. Such systems are particularly hard to understand and control because of the complexities inherent in human and organizational behaviors.

Lean Principles in the Digital Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

But, this push economy is fading fast in our complex, integrated, fast changing world. Such a world, - with its large number and variety of components along with their intricate interrelationships, - exhibits all the properties of dynamic, complex systems, including unpredictable and counter-intuitive behaviors. Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Innovation Management and Leadership Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strateg

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What Will Digital Life Be Like in 2025?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy The Pew Research Center is marking the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web with a number of reports on the current state and potential future of our digital lives.

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AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Can it help us understand our incredible complex economies and societies? . Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy The Pew Research Center has been marking the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web with a series of reports on the Internet and our digital lives.

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The “Recombinant” Nature of Digital Innovations

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Economic Issues Innovation Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy Killer-app is the name we give to those IT applications that turn out to be unexpectedly useful and help propel the success of a new product or service in the marketplace. Most everyone will agree, for example, that spreadsheet and word processing were the first killer-apps of the PC era, helping transform PCs into must-have business and personal productivity tools.

Big Data, Science and the Humanities

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Scientific methods will likely oversimplify the investigation of complex human affairs. Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Education and Talent Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy A few weeks ago I participated in an online debate sponsored by The Economist around the question: Are Smart Cities Empty Hype? I argued the case against the motion.

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Is the Link Now Broken Between Innovation, Jobs and a Higher Standard of Living?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy Last week I wrote about innovation in the digital economy and some of the puzzling questions we are now wrestling with. Is innovation accelerating or slowing down? Have we stopped solving big problems or are we solving bigger problems than ever before?

The MIT Second Machine Age Conference

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The second age machines are now enhancing our cognitive powers, giving us the ability to process vast amounts of information and make ever more complex decisions. And question-answering systems like IBM’s Watson are enabling us to solve increasingly complex problems. . “We’re The DARPA Robotics Challenge aims to have a similar impact on the development of “ground robots capable of executing complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments.

Cloud, Services and the Transformation of Production

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Is it a return to centralized computing , driven by the rising complexities, management costs and energy inefficiencies of distributed systems? Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems, for example, enable engineers to design significantly more complex objects that they otherwise would have been able to. Cloud Computing Complex Systems Economic Issues Innovation Political Issues Services Innovation Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy

The Digital Transformation of the Customer Experience

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Cloud Computing Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Services Innovation Technology and Strategy We are in the middle of a kind of digital perfect storm , where several major IT trends, - e.g., mobile, cloud, social, big data, - are each gathering speed while interacting with and amplifying each other.

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The Future of Management

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Economic Issues Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy Last month, McKinsey Quarterly published a special edition, Management: The next 50 year, to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

A Useful Framework for Analyzing the Impact of Technology on Jobs

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Most high-skill jobs involve expert problem solving, complex communications and other cognitive human activities for which there are no rule-based solutions. Examples include sophisticated medical diagnosis, complex designs, and many R&D tasks, as well as managing large organizations, teaching, and writing books and papers. Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Political Issues Society and Culture Technology and Strategy

A Data Science Approach to Organizational Health

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Innovation Management and Leadership Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy A 2013 Deloitte report, Success or Struggle? observed that despite high profits and stock valuations, the reality for many companies is far from upbeat. Strong competitors keep appearing from all corners of the world. Advances in technology are eroding the prevailing business models in industry after industry.

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