Networks and Complexity (1)

Dave Snowden

Complex human systems, such as organizations, communities or economies, go hand-in-hand with networks. Networks can reveal various structures and various layers in complex systems – the connections (links) between the components are key. Figure 1 – Fully Connected Network.

Learning: an anthro-complexity perspective

Dave Snowden

So does anthro-complexity provide an answer? Where there are conflicting experts we use a short cycle Tripticon to resolve those conflicts, where we have inadequate hypotheses we deploy human sensor networks (see later), and if it is complex (and most of it will be) then we move to stage 5.


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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.”

complex networks of trust

Harold Jarche

Networks of trust are what create value for society. Only global networks of trust can work on this complex problem. These networks start with individuals connecting to each other. The world is too complex for elites and hierarchies. What is innovation? —

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.

Thinking about Networks – 2

Dave Snowden

It is funny, when we think about networks, we think about groups, communities, systems, and other complex collections of interacting entities. Yet, the most popular social network metrics are “individual centralities”! Who spans the most structural holes in the network? We are looking at complex interconnected systems yet we are focusing on individuals. They are important for how they weave the network — what they do for the whole community.

Networks thrive in complexity

Harold Jarche

In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle. One good example of complexity that we can try to fathom is nature itself. Networks thrive in nature. When it comes to groups, Nature does not favor tribes, she favors size … She favors humongous social groups that network their information so well that they form a high-powered collective intelligence, a group brain. Real network models (e.g.

Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Harold Jarche

Hierarchies, simple branching networks, are obsolete. 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. This is why everyone, from an individual contributor to the CEO, has to understand networks. Complexity.

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. This lack of understanding is the major barrier to success in the network era. complexity

Scaling in complex systems

Dave Snowden

Naturally I have done a lot more thinking since then but the fundamentals remain: you don’t scale a complex system by aggregation or imitation but be decomposition to an optimal level of granularity followed by recombination (possible exadaptive recombination). Complexity is about how things connect far more than what the things are. The post Scaling in complex systems appeared first on Cognitive Edge.

The Social Network Is the Computer

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Our increasingly complex social interactions have been the critical factor in the exponential increase of human cranial capacity over the past few million years. “But today something is different. The Social Network Is the Computer. It simply said The Social Network Is the Computer.

self-managing for complexity

Harold Jarche

How can they most effectively learn the skills required in the complex domain? How can we prepare people to work in complex, and not highly ordered, work environments in which most problems are exceptions from which some emergent solutions can be continuously developed, learned, and shared? If we want to help people deal with complex problems and environments then they need to learn and practice in these. Complexity

subject matter networks

Harold Jarche

We live in a networked world. Is it even possible for one person to have sufficient expertise to understand a complex situation such as this pandemic? So do we rely on one subject matter expert or rather a subject matter network ? One expert is merely a node in a network.

May the Network Force Be With You

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

As we know, The Force is a source of power for those who, like the Jedi , feel its flow. “The network force is similar,” wrote Silicon Valley network expert and entrepreneur James Currier in Your Life is Driven by Network Effects. “You don’t always see it, but it is exerting itself on you.

culture is complex

Harold Jarche

My network helps to keep me informed. I listened to John Seely Brown several years ago where he explained there is only one way to understand a complex adaptive system (namely one with people in it): you have to marinate in it. Culture is complex. Communities ComplexityI am in a rural village in France enjoying my last day here before heading home. This week was spent mostly in Paris, running a workshop and meeting with a few people.

complexity and social learning

Harold Jarche

As we transition from a market to a network economy, complexity will increase due to our hyper-connectedness. Managing in complex adaptive systems means influencing possibilities rather than striving for predictability (good or best practices). No one has the definitive answer any more but we can use the intelligence of our networks to make sense together. Read more » Complexity SocialLearning

mastering complexity

Harold Jarche

“Our most successful clients have cross-flowing knowledge networks to handle the complexity/variety of their marketplace.” “The One Year Club – organizations that buy tools to embrace a new way of working without understanding fit, and finding it really complex. Organizations realize 9 to 18 months in that their tools don’t fit and what they are trying to do is really complex & they need help.

Fidelity in complex systems consultancy

Dave Snowden

Returning yesterday from my first TedX in Cyprus I was chatting with Sonja Blignaut about some upcoming activities and differences between approaches to sense-making and complexity. So its a hard problem, if not the Hard Problem , and it is especially so when you are working in a paradigm shifting area such as complexity theory. Now complexity is uncomfortable to any organisation (which in fact means more or less all organisations) as it challenges several key assumptions.

Networks and complexity

Harold Jarche

A cultural change is required in the way we organize our work because of two related factors: Networks & Complexity. Wirearchy may be a neologism , but I’ve found it to be a most descriptive term for discussing what happens when you connect everyone via electronic networks. The cynefin model shows that emergent practices are needed in order to manage in complex environments and novel practices are necessary for chaotic ones. Tweet.

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? Pretty well everything you need to know in order to prepare your organization for the “age of global markets”, or what I call the network era.

Social networked learning in complex information environments

George Siemens

The slides from my presentation are below: Social Networked Learning In mid-January I spent a wonderful day at American University learning about (and presenting on) the changing educational landscape, technology, and the practices and activities of learners.

nature favours large social groups that network their information

Harold Jarche

This may sound scary, for managers, but it’s the only way to manage in a complex environment. As the world becomes more networked, interdependent, politically and environmentally challenged, all organizations are now dealing with complex environments. Complexity SocialLearning

Groups 256

stories for the network age

Harold Jarche

The TIMN model [Tribes + Institutions + Markets + Networks] developed by David Ronfeldt has influenced much of my own work in looking at how we are moving toward a network society and must create organizational forms that are beyond national governments and beyond markets.

Meet Xyleme [Video]: Solving Complex Content Management Challenges at Scale


Xyleme’s content management solutions alleviate the resulting maintenance burden, making it easy for organizations to personalize, reuse and maintain even the most complex content libraries. When personalizing and localizing content at scale, a single document can multiply exponentially.

Networks, Information, and Complex Adaptive Systems

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

It requires, first, a sense of meaning or purpose that operates independently of the network of connected entities. Connectivism is a story about how networks self-organize in a fashion that does not presume any prior conditions such as knowledge about states of affairs in the world or about the meaning and purpose of life and death. Networks'' and ''Complex adaptive systems'' are two very different things. Under the heading "A believable theory? Actually, yes it is.

complexity in the workplace

Harold Jarche

In my post on complexity and learning, I said that work in networks requires different skills than in hierarchies. Read more » Complexity ConnectedEnterprise SocialLearningCoordination is making sure things get done effectively and efficiently. Most organizations do this well. Collaboration is working together for a common objective, usually directed through someone in authority. This is still the focus of most.

our crisis in network leadership

Harold Jarche

This pandemic has become a crisis in network leadership. The complications of drills in England had been replaced by the complexity of war and the chaos of battle. Understanding what domain of complexity we are dealing with is now an essential requirement for decision-makers.

hold space for complex problems

Harold Jarche

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. We need to take what Clay Shirky calls the cognitive surplus , and use it to wrestle with complex problems. Complexity Democracy

network literacies

Harold Jarche

Distributed governance was part of the conversation at RESET18 in Helsinki last month, where I discussed networks, communities of practice, knowledge-sharing, and sense-making, in the context of the Finnish civil service. I concluded that a network society needs networked models for organizing and for learning. Governments and their departments need to transition to the network form. Each network form will be different, so there are few best practices to follow.

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?

Coherence in complexity

Harold Jarche

Anecdote reports that John Kotter, leadership guru , is accepting that methods like his 8-step process for leading change may not be effective in the face of complexity. The majority of the [ HBR Paywall ] article is focussed on a ‘new’ concept Kotter calls ‘Strategic Accelerators’ In effect, he is talking about using Communities of Practice/collaborative networks to tap into the power and agility of the informal capabilities of an organisation.

smarter networks through better narratives

Harold Jarche

Leadership in a networked world is making our networks and communities smarter so they are able to make better-informed decisions. In early 2020 New Brunswick’s Education Minister, Dominic Cardy, worked very hard to make his network smarter.

immunize for complexity

Harold Jarche

It comes from the 1990’s but is still in use to describe the complex and chaotic world of business, politics, and technology. Complexity. Peter Hinnsen, in The Network Always Wins , describes the antidote to VUCA as VACINE. Network. Velocity and agility can be improved at the organizational level with frameworks, such as Niels Pflaeging’s Organize for Complexity approach. ComplexityHave you heard the term VUCA ?

The Power of Networks in a Complex (Business) World

Luis Suarez

One of the things that I am continuing to find rather fascinating and intriguing altogether is how, time and time again, even now in 2013, I still keep bumping, every so often, into various different people who keep questioning the validity and (business) value of checking vanity pages, as they usually call them, when referring to social networking profiles from knowledge workers / practitioners. To them, social networking is just a complete waste of time.

simple structures for complex problems

Harold Jarche

What is the optimal digital transformation technology for a networked organization? 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 organization embraces democracy and self-governance. Networked management requires networked leadership (collaboration). A networked culture adapts to life in perpetual beta (cooperation).

social learning for complex work

Harold Jarche

Is it in our organizational filing systems and intranets, or rather on the Web or in our professional social networks? It’s a question of complexity. Complex systems and learning how to work with them cannot be controlled. If you are working in a complex system, you will never be able to know everything. For instance, the environment and communities are complex systems that cannot be controlled, only influenced. Complexity SocialLearning

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

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

toward a network society

Harold Jarche

But this form, dominated by Markets is unable to deal with the complexities we face globally — climate change, pollution, populism/fanaticism, nuclear war, etc. A quadriform society would be primarily guided by the Network form of organizing. Many of the young inherently understand what makes a network society. We need to promote cooperative leadership and embrace diversity to harness the power of human networks.

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. Anne Marie goes on to explain how important professional learning networks are to each and every one of us.

PKM 178

simplifying the complexity

Harold Jarche

Complex Problems. I like complex problem-solving. Perhaps my most interesting project was when a client gave me a statement of work to ‘simplify the complexity’ I did not have a solution but felt that with my extended networked I would be able to solve their problem. Buying ‘off-the-shelf’ will not address the unique requirements for learning and working in any complex organizational environment.

“Complicated” vs. “Complex”

Martijn Linssen

The background: A gentleman who makes a living “reducing complexity” for IT systems keeps running into some of us on Twitter who study complexity. The ask: There is a group of complexity aficionados that criticize my use of the word “complexity.” ” In general, these are folks who are influenced by the Cynefin framework that considers complexity and complicated to be different attributes of a system. The Emergence of Complexity.

Networked Knowing

Harold Jarche

The theme was on the changing nature of work as we enter the network era and how learning is becoming integral to individual and organizational success. One hundred years later and we are witnessing a similar shift, from the industrial economy to the network era and a creative economy. The future of valued, human work is in addressing complex problems and coming up with creative solutions. In networks, there is no need for standardized and replaceable jobs.