Complexity CAN be managed…but only once it is measured
Friday, 25 June, 2010 9 Comments
This article refers to complexity from an engineering perspective BUT, as the Ontonix “solutions” are model-free AND we already provide bespoke engineering products, the most significant aspect is the reference to COMPLEXITY AS A SYSTEM PROPERTY: Complexity demands a new mindset
We particularly liked this this quote:
“In a complex system, learning how all the pieces—constant and variable—interact gives a depth of understanding that averts catastrophe. That is what we mean by humancentred design—understanding the interfaces among technology, people, communities, governments, and nature. This is what makes complexity manageable”
This is as close to our definition of complexity as I have seen but, in keeping with every other “expert” opinion on the subject, it still lacks a means of measurement so we aren’t quite sure how the author intends that complexity become “manageable”.
We have no such issue to overcome and are able to offer, even the most hands on C-level Executives, an insight into their organisation…and its ecosystem…that they could hitherto only have dreamt of.
What’s more we are able to deliver this “inside to out” (i2o) analysis by utilising the type of business information (BI) that is now recorded and monitored as a matter of course.
This graphic (on the left) summarises our approach. But of course there is much, much more to it than that! Otherwise how could we work apply our, model-free, technology in areas as diverse as Air traffic control – banking – mining – telecoms – healthcare – engineering – medical research – insurance – asset management – IT systems – petro chemicals – automotive.
So, we have already discovered a diverse range of applications but we believe that there are many more opportunities. Adoption has been slow but momentum has really been gathering and our Global footprint is increasing almost monthly. There are reasons for this gradual spread amongst which are the “nature” of the people involved with Ontonix. From the creator to the latest addition to the “Ontonix family” the people are committed, serious and dedicated to improving the organisations with whom we work. We aren’t salesmen! I want to ensure that we help organisations get and stay “fit for randomness”.
It would also be fair to say that complexity, as the term would suggest, is not easily understood or, for that matter, explained!!! Despite this and the apparent lack of a credible published definition IBM recently reported that may CEO’s across the globe are fearful of growing complexity and their ability to manage it in coming years. They are not alone. And, as the threat of complexity is not limited to the economic domain, it is hardly surprising that scholars, consultants (incl. McKinsey), regulators, Central banks, social, political and economic commentators have identified complexity as a huge and growing threat.
Of course we are grateful that so many influential people are publicising this issue…even when we disagree with fundamental aspects of their definition, approach, etc.
I think, by now, that the point is made..if not or if you want to know more please feel free to catch up on some previous blog items from the list below or view this more in depth presentation…but I would like to share with you this “definition” from a VP at a respected (Financial Services)innovation consultancy as we were discussing the recent IBM report:
“complexity, that could be defined as “hard to universally understand”. In products, it is the hard to understand features, benefits, administrative routines, variety of state regulations to adhere to, etc. Inside in the operations world, it reflects product complexity but it also reflects intangibility and sometimes even negativity associated with the products, causing people to behave differently from each other when certain challenges are present. A surefire way to know that complexity exists is when your people do not explain the strategy, a product, a market, a service, etc the same way. The heaviness of project management teams and long term processes, high operating costs, are all key indicators that complexity exists in an organization”
I am glad to say that this was the source of some considerable amusement for both of us and I very much doubt that this person would be offended that I referred to it. My response:
As far as I could see there was no definition of complexity in the IBM report. My first reaction was “if there is no definition how did IBM ask the question” and, if the respondents are leading CEO’s, “how could they answer a question about a term that did not appear to have been defined for them?”. THEN it occurred to me “if IBM don’t know what it is and the CEO’s haven’t asked what it means…”WHY THE HELL ARE THEY SO AFRAID!?”
Thankfully things fell into place when I read your “definition”.
If that was what IBM used as a definition no wonder CEO’s are afraid. I reckon I’ve got a pretty good handle on complexity but even I am scared to step outside.
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