Managing Complexity

Is near the core of my agenda – life’s complicated enough – just enough that is to make it a serious error to work with an over-simplified view in any context, in any environment, in any organisation. Anecdote here has a video link to a presentation on the subject by Michael Crichton (Yes, that Michael Crichton.). [via Johhnie Moore]

His 60 minute talk (plus Q&A) focuses on the topics of fear, misguided predictions and the impossibility of managing the environment with a mindset of linearity. Using the environment as an example of the ultimate complex system, Crichton exposes the inadequacies of conceiving the environment as a predictable and stable system. (Just substitute ‘the environment’ for the name of any large organisation.)

I guess the key caveat must be to stress the qualification of “impossible” and “predictable”. Not possible with the wrong rational objective (linear, static) world view. Roll on Dynamic Quality.

Anecdote looks like an interesting blog itself.
[Post-note – I see Anecdote are a small Australian organisation, with IBM and Dave Snowden / Cynefin connections. The web-linking plot thickens. I see their ideas of Adams and narrative humour refer to Scott, rather than Douglas (DNA) Adams. Pity :-)]

I see Johnnie has more recent posts on imperfection [perfection kills engagement] and trust [experts can miss the obvious] – a running thread here, didn’t I blog that last link a little earlier ?

Interesting further, is this title of a book chapter contributed by Johnnie “Simple Ideas, Lightly Held” – a play on the strong opinions, lightly held idea (also via Johnnie). In the context of the complexity post above, what this is saying that simple ideas are useful and pragmatic, but it’s dangerous to get too wedded to them, because they are almost certainly flawed – oversimplifying reality in any fundamental sense. Same problem with holding a fundamental metaphysical view of an ontology of subjects and objects.

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