Reflections on Complexity, Chaos and COVID-19

Dave Snowden

It is in this context that we pulled together some of the leading thinkers in the field of complexity to explore where we are from different perspectives. The post Reflections on Complexity, Chaos and COVID-19 appeared first on Cognitive Edge.

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.


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Decision Making in Our Increasingly Complex Organizations

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Goldfarb explained that the best way to assess the impact of a new radical technology is to look at how the technology reduces the cost of a widely used function. For example, computers are essentially powerful calculators whose cost of digital operations has been dramatically going down over the past several decades thanks to Moore’s Law. Viewed through this lens, our AI revolution can be viewed as reducing the cost of predictions.

The Untold Costs of Social Networking

Luis Suarez

If you look out there in the ever so complex and perhaps already overcrowded so-called social networking space (Social Media, if you wish), vast majority of these social tools are just plain awful, rather depressing and equally horrifying user experiences with a single goal in mind: to have you glued to their screens constantly scrolling through, mindlessly thinking ‘ why the heck have I ended over here in the first place ?’

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Complexity thinking

Harold Jarche

So in summary systems thinking is about closing the gap to an ideal future state using and focusing on individuals while complexity thinking is about understanding the present, and evolving through collective action to a future state which could not be fully anticipated but which is sustainable and resilient. complexity

The cost of codification

Harold Jarche

Tweet Here are some of the things I learned via Twitter this week: From KM to complexity – Necessary silos, cognitive truths about knowledge sharing, narrative as mediator, the zone of effective diffusion, and decision-making; by @johnt. At the highest level of abstraction (you have a conversation with yourself) the cost of codification is very low as you have a 100% shared context (hopefully). Companies are not so much machines as complex, dynamic, growing systems.

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No cookie cutters for complexity

Harold Jarche

Five years later, Dave Snowden makes a similar observation, sparked by a KPMG marketing brochure on “cutting through complexity” Dave concludes: If a consultancy firm really wants to help their clients they they should support them in living with complexity, riding its potential, avoiding reductionist approaches, engaging customer and staff in a sensing network. Complex problems require require different thinking. complexity

Scale and Complex Systemic Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

They are highly motivated to bring to market new products which offer significantly improved designs and/or lower costs, and thus gain competitive advantage and market share from the established leaders in their segment of the market. It favors large companies because of their ability to address complex systemic problems, manage the large-scale ecosystems that solving such problems requires, and bring their solutions to market all round the world.

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Managing Complex, Disruptive Innovations - Some Lessons Learned

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

But, this is generally a mistake, sometimes a very costly one. But given the complexity of the changes involved, they would likely take place as a series of incremental, evolutionary steps, not as a rip-and-replace transformation. Companies could provide superior customer service at lower costs, and their clients were happy that they could easily get whatever information they wanted any time of day or night.

Leadership for Complexity

Clark Quinn

The other meme from the retreat event last weekend was the notion of leadership for complexity. We talked through how things are moving from complicated to complex (and how important it is to recognize the difference), and that organizations need to receive the wake-up call and start moving forward. As I’ve said before, optimal execution will only be the cost of entry, and the differentiator (and hence the value) will be continual evaluation.

Gird for complexity

Jay Cross

Complexity has been on my mind a lot lately. The clockwork jobs have been outsourced to low cost providers. What’s left is complexity: the unpredictable, volatile, surprise-time, non-linear, quantum, interconnected challenges of WTF. Will complex work become the norm by 2020? Yet learning to navigate complex environments is totally different than learning to follow procedures and solve bounded problems. Does the movement toward 80% complexity ring true?

Re-wiring for the Complex Workplace

Harold Jarche

Complexity is the new normal. Organizational growth is usually viewed as a positive development, but it comes at a cost. Today’s complicated organizations are now facing increasingly complex business environments that require agility in simultaneously learning and working. Typical strategies of optimizing existing business processes or cost reductions only marginally improve the organization’s effectiveness. Re-wiring for complexity.

The Firm as a Large, Complex, Extended Family

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

He is best known for two articles, The Nature of the Firm published in 1937, and The Problem of Social Cost published in 1960. Transaction costs are incurred in obtaining goods and services outside the firm, such as searching for the right people, negotiating a contract, coordinating the work, managing intellectual property and so on. Thus, firms came into being to make it easier and less costly to get work done.

eLearning Costs : eLearning Technology

Tony Karrer

Personal Learning Informal Learning Corporate eLearning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools eLearning (e-Learning) e-Learning Software Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics Search via eLearning Learning for first time visitors Thursday, September 10, 2009 eLearning Costs : eLearning Technology A reader sent a note asking my opinion on the vendor pricing in The Great eTrain Robbery?

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Higher Education's Edifice Complex Now Crisis

Nine Shift

A big problem for higher education is that its edifice complex is way out of control. The cost of constructing campus buildings is only 15% of their eventual cost: you have maintenance, heat, lights, lawns to mow, etc. Higher education seems to be sliding towards a huge breakdown. Few are talking about it; many are hiding it. . Visiting senior administration officials this past month at one college, they were agitated and vexed with a big $9 million shortfall in the budget.

Managing Multiple Learning Managment Systems - The High Cost of Choice


In this environment of too much choice, the buying decision is complex and drawn out, and the unintended result is that learning organizations often end up implementing more than one LMS. High maintenance costs: Standish goes on to report that annual maintenance cost can run as high as 40% of total project cost with high risk of overrun due to lack of experience and best practice approach.

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Strategy and Execution in an Increasingly Complex World

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Twenty-thirty years ago, the business world was arguably less complex, slower moving and more predictable. A similar confluence has been taking place between strategy and execution driven primarily by the complexity of managing increasingly global and distributed operations and the complexity of strategic planning in a fast changing technology, business and political environments. .

How Can We Ensure that Our Complex AI Systems Do What We Want Them to Do?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Things are even tougher with people-centric sociotechnical systems, which not only have to deal with potential software problems, but with the even more complex issues involved in human behaviors and interactions. And, at the bleeding-edges of complexity are data-driven AI systems , which are generally based on statistical analysis and machine learning methods. . What is it that makes these systems so intrinsically complex? What purpose does this complexity serve?

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Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise

Harold Jarche

Our relationship with knowledge is changing as our work becomes more intangible and complex. PDL – Personal Directed Learning: from Clockwork & Predictable to Complexity & Surprising. Complexity, or maybe our appreciation of it, has rendered the world unpredictable, so the orientation of learning is shifting from past (efficiency, best practice) to future (creative response, innovation). In complex environments it no longer works to sit back and see what will happen.

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. There is growing evidence that the poorer you are, the higher the costs and risks of cash. Digitizing helps overcome the costs and physical barriers that have beset otherwise valuable financial inclusion efforts.”.

Prediction: Cracks in the Edifice Complex

Nine Shift

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Edifice Complex. The Edifice Complex is already dead in the private sector. But the Edifice Complex is dying hard for colleges and universities, wsting and costing billions. In 1913, the Woolworth Building was completed in New York City, then the highest building in the city. But more importantly, it was named after the Woolworth 5 and dime store company.

The Complex Transition to the Age of the Cloud

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

While the skeptics’ concerns, - security, reliability, privacy, costs and others, - are quite real, the hardest part of implementing cloud strategies has little to do with technology. As a result, these disparate systems do not work well with each other, application take a long time from development to deployment, and systems management costs are quite high. Cloud computing is a highly complex initiative - at the technical, business and organizational levels.

Complex Organizational Systems

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The study of complex systems has been a common arc in my career. It started with physics at the University of Chicago in the 1960s, where I was studying complex natural systems - atomic and molecular physics in particular. In the last twelve years, my work has focused on the kinds of complex systems made possible by the advent of the Internet and the Web. What makes such complex systems complex ? But why are these systems so complex?

Growing Up in a Complex World

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The primary challenge emerging out of the CEO conversations was complexity - the fact that CEOs now operate in a world that is substantially more volatile, uncertain and complex. Inheriting a Complex World: Future Leaders Envision Sharing the Planet invited graduate and undergraduate students to participate in a Web-based survey between October 2009 and January 2010. They grew up in a complex world. For business, this could be a costly strategic mistake.

learning in complexity and chaos

Harold Jarche

But more of our challenges are complex and cannot be solved in a standard way — inequality, refugees, populism, racism. Whenever people are involved, within a global context of climate change, the situation is likely complex. In complex situations there is less reliance on detailed plans and analysis and a greater emphasis on continuous experimentation coupled with good observation and tracking. We have to learn constantly in complexity. Complexity & Chaos.

Complex Sociotechnical Systems: the Case for a New Field of Study

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

They generally exhibit a level of complexity that is often beyond our ability to understand and control. Not only do they have to deal with the complexities associated with large scale hardware and software infrastructures, but with the even more complex issues involved in human and organizational behaviors. . A few weeks ago, MIT professor Joseph Sussman addressed these issues in a lecture - Complex Sociotechnical Systems: The Case for a New Field of Study.

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A learning system to meet the needs of a complex knowledge era

George Siemens

I gave a talk on the type(s) of learning system(s) that are needed to address complex knowledge needs. We can’t simply “optimize”, “make more efficient”, and “drive down costs” in planning the structure of tomorrow’s universities. We gain an understanding of needed learning systems, I argue, by evaluating the attributes of information in digital networks and through focusing on the nature of knowledge needs in complex settings

Complex Organizational Systems: Some Common Principles

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Following Vest’s keynote, I participated in a panel on Critical Issues and Grand Challenges , in which we discussed the kinds of complex and exciting societal challenges Chuck told us are needed to inject excitement into engineering. I was the last speaker in the panel, and talked about complex organizational systems. After listening intently to what they said, I came up with four key such common principles for complex systems. It is very complicated, but not quite complex.

The Napoleon Complex

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

We live in a complex world where a wide range of factors go into producing results. Now it may be that lives are saved by lowering the cost of treatment, but unless the savings are dramatic, then that number will be nowhere the million lives being lost to the disease. But more to the point, when we ask, “what is killing those people,” a more complex answer emerges. I just want to capture my part of a discussion that took place on Matthew Tabor's website.

Learning and Working in Complexity Workshop

Harold Jarche

Learning & Working in Complexity Workshop. Cost: This workshop is being offered at an introductory price of $1,950 without customization, until the end of Summer 2009. On-site workshop price is in addition to travel costs. Over several online and on-site presentations this past year, I’ve noticed a need for organizations to develop practical tools and contextual processes to manage information, knowledge and learning.

Business and Technology Predictions for 2021 and Beyond

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Disjointed experiences cost millions and lose customers - they are the antithesis of customer obsession. People have complex, emotional relationship with brands and their associated products and services.

The Increasing Influence of Recommendation Systems in Our Everyday Lives

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Goldfarb explained that the best way to assess the impact of a new radical technology is to look at how the technology reduces the cost of a widely used function. Viewed through this lens, the data and AI revolution can be viewed as reducing the cost of predictions.

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Cloud's Trillion Dollars 2030 Potential

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A detailed review of cloud cost-optimization levers and value-oriented business use cases foresees more than $1 trillion in run-rate EBITDA [an accounting measure of a company’s overall financial performance] across Fortune 500 companies as up for grabs in 2030.”. IT cost optimization.

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Design Principles for Complex, Unpredictable, People Oriented Systems

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

An IBM Global CEO Study conducted in 2010 concluded that complexity was the primary challenge emerging out of its conversations with 1,500 CEOs and senior government officials. CEOs told us they operate in a world that is substantially more volatile, uncertain and complex. Over the past several years, we have seen a rising emphasis on design, creativity and holistic thinking in business to help us deal with an increasingly volatile, unpredictable complex world.

The Current State of Cloud Computing

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Many company leaders have encountered major roadblocks along their path toward cloud or have gotten cold feet once they questioned its impact on costs, security, latency, and more. The main value of cloud is IT cost reductions. Cloud costs are higher than in-house computing.

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The Transformation of Logistics in the Retail Industry

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The high demand for warehousing and trucking has also stimulated research on cost-reducing innovations, including including varieties of warehouse automation and the development of autonomous trucks that can run on interstate highways.

The Increasing Economic Value of Digital Capital

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Intangibles do have a monetary value since they represent future potential revenue, but they’re more difficult to value because, unlike tangibles, their costs and market values are hard to determine. A firm’s financial statement comprises two distinct types of assets.

The Collapse of Complex Business Models ? Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky

The Times’ Paywall and Newsletter Economics » The Collapse of Complex Business Models. Against that background, though, they were worried about a much more practical matter: When, they asked, would online video generate enough money to cover their current costs? In 1988, Joseph Tainter wrote a chilling book called The Collapse of Complex Societies. At this point, any additional complexity is pure cost. Clay Shirky.

Is Work-from-Anywhere Here to Stay?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Besides increasing the job satisfaction and productivity of their employees, another attraction for employers is shrinking real estate costs. Remote work has been around for a few decades, but took off in the mid-late 1990s with the explosive growth of the Internet.

The Intangible Asset Revolution

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

This happened because digital technologies offered the cost savings that come from substituting bits for atoms, and the intense cost pressures of capitalism caused companies to accept this offer over and over.”.

The State of AI Adoption - High Performers Show the Way

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

At the same time, 44% report cost savings in the business units where the AI use case is deployed. Cost decreases are highest in manufacturing, - yield, energy and throughput optimization; and in supply-chain management, - spend analytics, and logistics-network optimization.

The Emergence of Central Bank Digital Currencies

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

These include the share of people that are unbanked, even in rich countries, the high costs of payment methods and the inordinate cost of cross-border transactions (which eats into remittances to poorer countries).

A Biological Framework for the Study of Labor Market Resilience

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Talent has become the linchpin asset of the knowledge economy, making capital highly dependent on the high-skill workers capable of navigating our increasingly complex business environment.

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