Managing in Complexity
JANUARY 24, 2013
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. Complex problems cannot be solved alone.
The Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2016
AUGUST 16, 2016
For the past several years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has published an annual list of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies that would likely have the greatest impact on the world in the years to come. The technologies on the list are not new.
Technological Unemployment and the Future of Work
NOVEMBER 3, 2015
Few topics are as important, - and as challenging to anticipate, - than the future of work given our justifiable fears of rising technological unemployment. This question has been widely discussed for years, but, - at the end of the day, - we don’t really have good answers.
No cookie cutters for complexity
MARCH 28, 2013
technology ? As social learning, collaboration, and even complexity become mainstream concepts, the array of products and services around them are becoming commoditized. Complex problems require require different thinking. complexity
Complex Systems and the “Rashomon Effect”
MARCH 24, 2015
In the column, professor Frenkel discusses a very deep and important question: Is there such a thing as a true reality, or “is our belief in a definite, objective, observer-independent reality an illusion?”
Can AI Help Translate Technological Advances into Strategic Advantage?
MAY 17, 2016
Go is a very complex game, for which there are more possible board positions than there are particles in the universe. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” is one of the most memorable quotes of science fiction writer Arthur C.
Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise
APRIL 20, 2011
Corporations that understand the value of knowledge sharing, teamwork, informal learning and joint problem solving are investing heavily in collaboration technology and are reaping the early rewards. ~ Our relationship with knowledge is changing as our work becomes more intangible and complex.
The Firm as a Large, Complex, Extended Family
SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
A second article in the same September, 2013 Economist issue, The man who showed why firms exist , said: “The job of clever people is to ask difficult questions. A firms is best viewed as a kind-of rather large and highly complex family.
The Power of Networks in a Complex (Business) World
JULY 6, 2013
And yet they are missing a brave new world out there that social technologies are, finally, helping unleash some of its true potential in helping us understand how network thinking goes well beyond a business context.
Big Data, Complex Systems and Quantum Mechanics
DECEMBER 7, 2012
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. The concept of wave-particle duality explains that reality depends on what question you are asking and what experiment you perform to answer the question.
Blockchain - Once Again, the Technological Genie Has Been Unleashed from its Bottle
AUGUST 22, 2016
MIT research scientist and Internet pioneer David Clark addressed this question in a recent article about the early design choices that have led to today’s Internet.
Preparing Students for an Increasingly Complex Business World
DECEMBER 23, 2014
Are engineering and management schools adequately preparing students for our fast-changing, highly complex business world? Universities generally do a pretty good job when it comes to teaching hard skills, - engineering methods, technology, analytical tools, finance, marketing, and so on.
Strategy Made Simple - The 3 Core Strategy Questions
JULY 9, 2013
In increasingly turbulent and complex times, we understandably fall prey to a dangerous temptation – both as institutions and individuals. The option is to focus more than ever on three core strategy questions that can help provide us with focus and stability even as the turbulence increases around us – and help us to prioritize where we need to respond and where we don’t. This is a relatively new, but increasingly important, strategic question.
Some Puzzling Questions about Innovation in the Digital Economy
FEBRUARY 26, 2014
Teaching forces you to take a fresh look at the subjects you are covering, so I find myself revisiting questions I’ve long been thinking about: What is the essence of innovation in the digital economy and how does it differ from the industrial age innovation of the past two hundred years?
Payment Technologies: Past, Present and Future
MARCH 13, 2013
I was reminded of this dictum when recently attending a very interesting workshop, Payment Technologies: Past Present and Future. The workshop was sponsored by UC Irvine’s Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI).
Education Technology Strategies - Day One
Stephen Downes: Half an Hour
FEBRUARY 3, 2015
lessons scripted around 1:1 laptop); IT issues - we were a Windows network, with everything on our own domain - we needed to open eg printing etc O - consumer technology far more accessible in 2012 esp. dates to classical Greece How does technology change this? - Most classrooms still dominated by teachers teaching answers and students remembering them We can change the technology but if we haven''t changed the goal we really haven''t accomplished anything.
The Science of Complex Systems
JULY 9, 2011
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.
Making sense of complexity and innovation
APRIL 5, 2013
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. complexity Friday''s Finds Innovation
How Can We Ensure that Our Complex AI Systems Do What We Want Them to Do?
APRIL 7, 2015
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. What is it that makes these systems so intrinsically complex?
A Useful Framework for Analyzing the Impact of Technology on Jobs
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014
Last week I discussed a recent Pew Research report on the impact of AI, robotics and other advanced technologies on the future of jobs. The expert’s responses to this question where divided down the middle. .
Managing Complex, Disruptive Innovations - Some Lessons Learned
FEBRUARY 6, 2013
One of the major challenges in managing disruptive innovations is that even if you are sure that change is inevitable and you must therefore embrace the new ideas and technologies, you really don’t know what lies ahead.
Five Key Questions
Stephen Downes: Half an Hour
MARCH 17, 2011
I was asked to provide some initial recommendations for that initiative, in the form of responses to five questions. Though some feel distance and online learning will not reduce costs, many are looking to new technologies not only to increase access but also to reduce the load borne by government. Which current or emerging technology has the potential of radically transforming online and distance learning?
Technology and the Future of Media
AUGUST 18, 2015
Most everyone will agree that advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) are radically transforming the business landscape. Digital technologies are not only giving rise to more distributed and inclusive models, but are also enabling alternative unilateral-like models.
Strategy and Execution in an Increasingly Complex World
JULY 12, 2012
Its title asks the question: “ Strategy or Execution: Which Is More Important? ,” to which it adds the tagline: “Many business leaders think they’d rather have great execution than superior strategies, but you can’t have the first without the second” . Twenty-thirty years ago, the business world was arguably less complex, slower moving and more predictable. These shifts are unyielding and contribute to the sense of a world growing more uncertain, volatile and complex.” .
Digital Technologies for 21st Century Democracy
NOVEMBER 17, 2011
The focus for this year’s conference was Digital Technologies for 21st Century Democracy. I was invited to attend the conference, and participate in the opening plenary panel on D igital Technologies and the Future of Governance. The panel was moderated by Beth Noveck , Professor of Law at the New York Law School , who until recently served in the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer and leader of the White House Open Government Initiative.
Better Education Through Technology
Stephen Downes: Half an Hour
JANUARY 10, 2011
me) on seeing a sight like this is to suggest that everybody would be better off with a little more investment in technology. But they could instead higher fewer people, pay them more, and use technology to make up the difference. But third, and perhaps most critically, you don't actually get any improvements in output using the technological solution. It is in this context we need to read an article like Kentaro Toyama's Can Technology End Poverty?
The Complex Transition to the Age of the Cloud
APRIL 6, 2012
But, while many of us feel that cloud is even bigger and more profound than we thought back in 2008, lots of questions remain on its intrinsic nature and its value to the business. . At present, there’s a lot of uncertainty and skepticism around the cloud, particularly among technology professionals who have deep expertise with, or attachment to, on-premise computing,” McAfee adds. In June of 2008 I participated in a conference on cloud computing.
The Collapse of Complex Business Models ? Clay Shirky
APRIL 1, 2010
The Times’ Paywall and Newsletter Economics » The Collapse of Complex Business Models. From the Q&A after, it was clear that for them, the question wasn’t whether the internet was going to alter their business, but about the mode and tempo of that alteration. That kind of question comes up a lot. In 1988, Joseph Tainter wrote a chilling book called The Collapse of Complex Societies. At this point, any additional complexity is pure cost.
People, Organization, Technology?
MARCH 5, 2013
Headed for my personal trash bin: ‘People, Process, Technology.’ For complex systems, for innovation efforts, for creativity – process engineering is not only the wrong approach, it is a mistake. For the rest, technology should enable serendipity rather than predictive process.
AI, Automation and the US Economy
JANUARY 10, 2017
But it’s recent advances based on machine learning and related data-driven technologies are still relatively new, making it hard to predict where AI will be heading over time. Like no other technology, AI forces us to explore the very boundaries between machines and humans.
Corporate Survival: Lessons from Biology
JANUARY 26, 2016
Let’s take a closer look at the nature of complex adaptive systems. Why are these systems so complex? I found the most satisfying answer to this seemingly Socratic question in an excellent 2002 paper - Complexity and Robustness - by professors Jean Carlson and John Doyle.
Blockchain Can Reshape Financial Services… But it Will Take Significant Time and Investment
SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
Not only are there major technology and standards issues to be worked out, but the industry will have to collaborate with governments around the world to develop the appropriate legal frameworks and regulatory environments. Transforming this highly complex global ecosystem is very difficult.
Is Design Thinking the “New Liberal Arts”?
OCTOBER 31, 2016
Design thinking is now being applied to abstract entities, - e.g. systems, services, information and organizations, - as well as to devise strategies, manage change and solve complex problems. But a number of recent articles have been asking an intriguing question.
What’s the Value of Blockchain?
APRIL 17, 2017
Such real-world use cases are particularly important when introducing a new, complex set of technologies in the marketplace. They’re the best way of getting on the learning curve for the new technologies as well as of explaining the kinds of problems they help us address.
The Evolution of the Firm
NOVEMBER 21, 2016
In the article, Professor Coase provided a simple answer to the question: Why do firms exist? Do we need a different answer to the question Why do firms exist? Among the key such other factors is the ability to address complex technical and management problems.
Becoming a Data-Driven Business: Challenges and Opportunities
DECEMBER 19, 2016
Big data ,- including analytics , data science , artificial intelligence and related information-based technologies - are now everywhere. “Is The convergence of several technology trends is accelerating progress.
Disruptive Innovation Revisited
JULY 9, 2014
Lepore’s article may well be part of a growing backlash against the relentless advances in technology. Most of us who’ve studied or lived through them find Christensen’s work to be a useful explanation and organizing framework for understanding technology-based disruptions.
Complexity and Design in Warfare
MARCH 18, 2011
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. The Forum holds several meetings a year, each centered on a specific topic, mostly related to information technologies and their impact on society. A significant goal of CACD is a shared understanding of complex problems.
The Rise of the Platform Economy
FEBRUARY 9, 2016
These are among the questions addressed in in a recent report, The Rise of the Platform Enterprise: A Global Survey led by Peter Evans and Annabelle Gawer and sponsored by the Center for Global Enterprise. What do we mean by a platform ?
Will technology harm or help young people’s brains? A highly nuanced debate
FEBRUARY 29, 2012
Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest study on the future of the internet examines how young people will be affected by technology. Rather, they are learning more and they are more adept at finding answers to deep questions, in part because they can search effectively and access collective intelligence via the internet. Technology will be so seamlessly integrated into our lives that it will effectively disappear.