complexity rules

Harold Jarche

We live and work in a complex system. Simple, traditional linear models do not work in complex systems. Complexity is not complicated, nor linear — “In complex systems, the last thing that happened is almost never informative about what’s coming next.”

culture is complex

Harold Jarche

The famous quote attributed to Peter Drucker is that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” French culture is not unaffected by international business pressures, as witnessed by the fast food outlets everywhere. Travel helps you understand culture. ” Understanding culture is something that AI cannot do. The ability to marinate in a culture and understand the subtle nuances is the competitive advantage humans have over the algorithms and machines.

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Culture: the subject

Dave Snowden

The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and “The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. I’d seen enough attempts to engineer culture by publishing platitudinous cliches on a cyclical basis to have lost all faith in the explicit, future focused attempts to create a desired culture. Culture Cynefin

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.

Culture or Cultures?

Clark Quinn

A twitter pointer led me to an HBR article arguing that We’re Thinking about Organizational Culture all Wrong. In it, the author argues that it’s fallacious to think that there’s just one organizational culture, , and that all people buy into it. The first is that the cultural values may be interpreted differently. The second is that people may comply with the culture even if they don’t agree with it. Cultures are developed and do change.

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.

Agency: privilege & complexity

Dave Snowden

In part that is the question of privilege, in part a failure to really on board the implications of complexity (and I speak here as some who has sinned and may well still be in a state of sin in this regard). In today’s post I want to start the examination of who/what should and who/what can have agency in creating change in the complex fractal systems which comprise our various organisations, polities and increasing poleis that comprise our world.

Culture 7 of 7: Completion

Dave Snowden

In effect the programme should not complete per se, but instead shift to continuous micro-changes and short cycle feedback loops that characterise a complex eco-system. A cultural change initiative is a device of last resort, it means you’ve failed to maintain a suitable resilient system and have to do some type of reset. Culture is manifested in what we do, not what we say about why we want to do things. The post Culture 7 of 7: Completion appeared first on Cognitive Edge.

Culture 2 of 7: the canvass

Dave Snowden

I’m not attempting an anthropological treatise here, my focus is on the ubiquitous attempts to engineer culture change in organisations a task that matches the original meaning of a forlorn hope , a mistranslation of verloren hoop whichmeans a lost heap! When you hear about major culture changes achieved in organisations its worth remembering all those which failed and the many many casualties. Any culture is, of its nature a complex adaptive system.

Corporate culture

Harold Jarche

Tweet Next month I’ll be discussing corporate culture at Sibos in Toronto. My view (not original) is that corporate culture is an emergent property. Culture happens, and like a child, once born, the parents are not really in control. With increasing connections and speeds of transmission, our work environments have become much more complex. In complex environments, emergent practices have to be developed by probing, sensing and responding. complexity

The evolution of culture

Dave Snowden

I want to start with the culture word and I'm deliberately using lower case and linking with the idea of an evolutionary not an engineering process. It is also distressingly common for people to see culture as a thing and I've even seen web sites that propose using on line surveys with explicit questions to carry out a stock take of culture. The latest example claims originality is discovering that unwritten rules and practices are domain in culture.

Culture 6 of 7: Adjustments

Dave Snowden

In any art work the final adjustments mean that we are nearing completion, in cultural change I want to argue, it is the sign that the process is only just starting. In an ideal world managing culture would be a constantly evolving process; multiple small micro-changes with a feedback loop in near real time that allows the process to be navigated. Culture is more like an estuary with strong and weak currents and constantly shifting sandbanks, assuming stability is a danger.

hold space for complex problems

Harold Jarche

Energy resources (think rising energy prices, environmental catastrophes displacing people, a culture of sustainability emerging).” Every one of the major challenges facing us is complex. But our organizations are not designed for complexity. Our education institutions do not teach an understanding of complexity. Our workplace training does not factor in complexity. While not all of our problems are complex, the simpler issues are being dealt with.

Big Data, Complex Systems and Quantum Mechanics

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In thinking about this question over the last few years, I started to notice that a number of subtle, non-intuitive concepts that I learned many years ago as a physics student seem to apply to the world of big data and information-based predictions in highly complex systems. So is the world of highly complex systems , especially those systems whose components and interrelationships are themselves quite complex, as is the case with systems biology and evolution. .

The Complex Nature of Cloud-based Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Some of the reasons are organizational and cultural. 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.

simple structures for complex problems

Harold Jarche

It is a suite of capabilities that foster an organizational culture that is constantly learning in order to understand and engage the complex environment in which it lives. A networked culture adapts to life in perpetual beta (cooperation). The human brain is the best interface for complexity. Complexity needs simple, adaptive structures. Complexity ConnectedEnterprise Democracy

Managing in Complexity

Harold Jarche

As our markets and technologies get more complex, we need new models to get work done. However, complex systems are not fully knowable, though they can be partially understood through interaction with them. If companies want to remain competitive in the global market, they need to focus on complex and creative work. Much of complex work is in exception-handling and when exceptions are the rule, rigid rules must become the exception. complexity Wirearchy Work

Scale and Complex Systemic Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

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. This kind of complex systemic innovation leverages lots of known ideas and makes them work together to help address important problems. But, it is not enough to be large for a company to succeed at complex systemic innovation.

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Fostering an Innovation Culture: Talent, Discipline and Leadership

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

I was reminded of this point as I read The Hard Truth About Innovative Culture s , an article in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) by Harvard professor Gary Pisano. “A culture conducive to innovation is not only good for a company’s bottom line,” writes Pisano. “It also is something that both leaders and employees value in their organizations.”. Innovative cultures are paradoxical. Innovation has been a hot topic for the past few decades.

The Connected Culture

Dan Pontefract

Chaordic is any self–organizing, adaptive, non-linear, complex system, whether physical, biological, or social, the behaviour of which exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos or, loosely translated to business terminology, cooperation and competition. A ‘ connected culture ’ is one that simultaneously drives organizational clarity with precarious innovation. The following diagram aims to depict what I refer to as a ‘connected culture’ in an organization.

The Firm as a Large, Complex, Extended Family

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A firms is best viewed as a kind-of rather large and highly complex family. We also form companies and other such organizations to get things done in our work, especially more complex objectives that require the collective skills of multiple people. Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Education and Talent Management and Leadership Political Issues Society and Culture

Culture 5 of 7: Colouring in

Dave Snowden

Culture is also context specific so few aspects of change can be achieved through context free recipes and formulaic approaches that are all too common. Coherence is a key work in complexity and its all about things that re different being able to work together or interact. The post Culture 5 of 7: Colouring in appeared first on Cognitive Edge. Culture Cynefin

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. Making a value proposition around behaviour and culture change is therefore very difficult. complexit

Design thinking & complexity pt 2

Dave Snowden

For the moment I want to look at some of the implications for design thinking, reinterpreted through a complexity lens; shifting from a linear process to a non-linear dynamic. Its not just material objects, its also material culture which has a biological impact. A complexity informed theory of design on the other hand wants to prevent the premature convergence on a defined problem that the linear model of Research-Ideate-Prototype implies.

OMG, its culture change time

Dave Snowden

If in doubt, blame the culture seems to be a golden rule in consultancy and management alike. And of course once blame has been allocated we end up with a visitation from the cultural change specialists with their tool kit of communication plans, key drivers, motivational posters, games and the like. He starts by belittling the its the way we do things around here definition of culture by referencing the hopelessness of conventional attempts to change process.

The Science of Complex Systems

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

When I look back over my long, relatively eclectic career, complex systems have been a common theme in all the activities I’ve been involved in. It started in the 1960s, when I was an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Chicago majoring in physics, - the study of complex natural systems. The research for my thesis was focused on the highly complex world of atoms and molecules.

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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? Cultural competence : “Have a capacity to think, act and move across multiple boundaries of functions, silos and global cultures, including the sometimes insular worlds of engineering, law, and business.” . Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Society and Culture

Design thinking & complexity pt 3

Dave Snowden

That means sending in anthropologists to look at cultural issues rather than OR consultants, or biologists to look at engineering problems. Only once a pattern emerges should you move it into a more formal process: the complex to complicated shift. In my last post in this series I argued for managed exaptation as a method to avoid premature convergence.

Changing Culture: Scaling Up Excellence

Clark Quinn

I’ve found myself picking up books about how to change culture, as it seems to be the big barrier to a successful revolution. I’ve finished a quick read of Scaling Up Excellence , am in the midst of Change the Culture, Change the Game , and have Reinventing Organizations and Organize for Complexity (the latter two recommended by my colleague Harold Jarche ) on deck.

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

The Complex Relationship Between Science and the Public

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Two years ago, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences launched The Public Face of Science , an initiative whose objective is to better understand the complex relationship between scientists and the public in America. Diversity Education and Talent Management and Leadership Media and Communications Political Issues Society and Culture

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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Complexity links

Harold Jarche

I use Delicious to keep track of web resources and recently passed on, via Twitter, my social bookmarks tagged with complexity. A short explanation of the Cynefin framework (and video by Shawn Callahan ), by Ton Zijlstra : Over the years I’ve seen the number of issues companies and professionals are dealing with shift more and more to the complex realm. Complexity is where predictability is absent, and only in hindsight cause and effect are clear.

Governance and Pragmatism: Moving Beyond “The Culture of No”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Checks and balances is one of the most important principles for making decisions and getting things done in a highly complex organization. While we primarily associate checks and balances with the US system of government, I believe that it equally applies to any other complex organizational system. Lou called it A Culture of “No.”. “I One of the most extraordinary manifestations of this no culture was IBM’s infamous nonconcur system.

Making sense of complexity and innovation

Harold Jarche

Friday’s Finds: Gall’s Law: A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. ” Deconstructing Innovation : a complex concept made simple; by @ShaunCoffey. complexity Friday''s Finds Innovation

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. .

Complexity and Design in Warfare

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The workshop explored how design-oriented approaches can help us better understand and deal with the very complex problems we are increasingly encountering in all aspects of business, economies, government, public policy, military operations and society in general. Over the past few meetings the Forum has focused on various topics related to complex systems, - how to best understand and manage them in the present, as well as predict and shape their future directions.

The Complex Relationship Between Science and the Public

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Two years ago, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences launched The Public Face of Science , an initiative whose objective is to better understand the complex relationship between scientists and the public in America. Diversity Education and Talent Management and Leadership Media and Communications Political Issues Society and Culture

The Connected Culture

Dan Pontefract

Chaordic is any self–organizing, adaptive, non-linear, complex system, whether physical, biological, or social, the behaviour of which exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos or, loosely translated to business terminology, cooperation and competition. A ‘ connected culture ’ is one that simultaneously drives organizational clarity with precarious innovation. The following diagram aims to depict what I refer to as a ‘connected culture’ in an organization.

The Tale of Two Cultures

Jay Cross

Snow wrote an essay describing the “two cultures, whose thesis was that ‘the intellectual life of the whole of western society’ was split into two cultures — namely the sciences and the humanities — and that this was a major hindrance to solving the world’s problems. As the world grew more complex, the two groups grew further apart.” Half a century later, the world grows more complex everyday and the two cultures have grow further apart.

The Economic and Cultural Polarization of America

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world - for whites, anyway.” There was a common civic culture, - the American way of life , - “that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. You might say the country has bifurcated into different social tribes, with a tenuous common culture linking them.”

Leadership emerges from network culture

Harold Jarche

A new culture emerges. Culture is an emergent property of people working together. In a naturalistic redescription of the phenomenon, we might view it as an emergent, self-organising property of complex systems. Donald Clark also passed on a post he made a few years ago on Leadership Training : Leadership Training: Complex behaviours and skills are reduced to simple geometric diagrams, a pyramid here, an interlocking circle here, a four quadrant typology there.

Learning in Complexity

Harold Jarche

” @webestime – “Simple rules lead to complex behavior. ” @CharlesJennings – “in a complex world, continuous learning is the only option available to us” – Globalization, Complexity & Change. The challenges of jobs that deal with high levels of complexity and tacit interactions are best addressed through the development of core skills and capabilities, not through trying to teach sets of processes or facts.