"For Want of a Nail" – A Proverb of Chaos (via Catagenesis)


Gaining an understanding of “Chaos & Complexity” and how they affect or underpin just about every aspect of modern life is highly recommended. This is a great little “taster”.

YOU are the ultimate complex system! So it is something that is relevant to EVERYONE.Mammalian Lung

The understanding that, such as, Benoit Mandelbrot brought to the subject has been invaluable. If you struggle to get your head around self-similarity, with smaller and smaller recurring shapes or patterns, you may feel more inclined to consider it if you knew that, thanks to fractal scaling, the surface area of human lungs is equivalent to 160 sq. metres or a singles tennis court. They contain circa 300 million alveoli (pockets for storage of air to allow absorption into the blood stream). All contained within a capacity of 6 litres.

Needless to say our lungs are enormously complex on their own but when you consider that they only work as an interdependent part of our body it is EXTREMELY hard to be believe that these just evolved…a conversation for another day I think!!!

If the above and following don’t  whet your appetite to learn more or get you to thinking about our complex relationships with each other, with the environment, with technology, in business or the “unseen” networks that enable development, assembly and delivery of goods to your door then I can recommend the Dilbert widget although I can’t guarantee that you will be able to follow every storyline.

"For Want of a Nail" - A Proverb of Chaos

As a Christmas gift, I received a set of video lectures by The Teaching Company entitled “Chaos.”  The course, presented by a well known educator on the subject, Professor Steven Strogatz, explores the history, science and implications of chaos theory.  I feel confident in saying that chaos theory is still not nearly as appreciated as it probably should be, given how fundamental of a breakthrough in scientific perspective it represents. I am very … Read More

via Catagenesis

UK Insurance: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition…Part "tres" – Spanish lessons anyone?


I’m not normally an “I told you so” kinda guy BUT you may find it hard to believe if you track back to previous blog items (approx. 2 years worth) carrying the same WARNINGS and the offer of help.

Help to map a transitional path through sustainability, to transparency, then TRUST and competitive advantage. It MAY not be too late for some!

Now, we all know that FSA don’t have a great track record but the negative role of intermediaries has been the “elephant in the room” that simply could not be ignored any longer.  Insurers and anyone who cares for the industry need this kind of intervention because the lobby for the status quo extends from broking into investment banking!

Related industries that should be reliant upon reputation and trust but have, instead, reduced the reputation and role of Financial Services to that of, virtual, door-to-door salesmen.

Integrity, value and service have been replaced by a façade woven by pricing, marketing and advertising.

The level of customer dissatisfaction, both at point of sale and, increasingly in claim resolution  – I understand even OFT have been inundated by complaints – is as unsustainable as the commission rates…that have been “negotiated” or maintained using the worst kind of leverage.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a discussion paper to open a public debate about how it, and in future the proposed Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (CPMA), should best protect the consumer with a specific focus on product intervention.

Under the new regulatory structure, insurance intermediaries will come under the CPMA’s remit.
As part of its new consumer protection strategy introduced last year, the FSA said it has already introduced a more interventionist approach with the aim of anticipating consumer detriment where possible and stopping it before it occurs…

Read more here

UK Insurance: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition…again! Just in case anyone who read this thought “that doesn’t really apply to the broader [general] insurance market” and that I may be totally wrong to suggest that further questions may follow, you may want to take a look at this. Also from OFT and relating to the motor insurance market BUT with implications for activities involving household, motorcycle and commercial vehicle insurance The OFT today published, for consultation, commitments offered b … Read More

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Global Exec’s talk about complexity to KPMG


Here’s the headline…not my headline but KPMG’s headline…

“Managing complexity is at the top of the business agenda”

My question is very simple…WHERE? Show me. Send me the agendas or some names!

image

The report can be found here

I want to talk to them about this subject that they, so willingly, talk to all these Global Consultancy firms about.

There is a difference between the nature of the conversations though. A change of direction. Listening not talking… Read more of this post

If commitments aren’t honoured the SME may be an endangered species


This article tells us what the Government’s role isn’t but I don’t think that too many business people will disagree when I say their role IS to ensure that the climate allows for growth in spite of all the Austerity measures that are now beginning to bite! A major factor in this is that the Banks that WE bailed-out honour the commitments they gave. SO far they have failed to do so and no amount of rhetoric is going to make these  facts go away…so everyone loses

It is not the Government’s role to create jobs. Their task is to create the right economic climate so that those of us in business can create the jobs the British economy needs.  It is a fact that the SME Sector provides over 65 per cent of all private sector jobs.  It is absolutely vital therefore, that this engine of economic growth that is the SME sector, is kept well maintained, oiled and fuelled for the difficult and challenging journey ahead.

However, many of the entrepreneurs I talk to on a regular basis, have told me over the last six to nine months that they have now decided to focus all of their time and effort on consolidation and debt reduction rather than expansion.  Generally they seem to have reached that conclusion based on current bank attitudes. This is not what we want or need if we are to move the UK economy forward…

Is the SME sector an endangered species? – Business 7.

Update 2011: Hey, hey it’s “Davos time” again!


“Both governments and societies are less able than ever to cope with global challenges”

This quote (and the following), from the Global Risk 2011 report, suggest that there appears to be a realisation of the nature of what we are facing. I would be encouraged BUT, even if, “call me Dave” does put in an appearance to spout about a work in progress, or the wisdom he has gained from previous meetings with Nassim Taleb, it will have the usual hollow tone to it as he can’t even get the banks to meet commitments already given re SME businesses.

It is a very dangerous “game” that these guys are playing because, IF/WHEN another collapse occurs and contagion heaps more misery on UK citizens, one or both will pay a very heavy price for their stubbornness!

The current fragility is recognised. The nature and pace of systemic risk “known”. So too great a focus upon national interests and growth, at the expense of rebuilding global stability and resilience would be a a huge mistake. From where we are, ensuring survival would be a good starting point!

Clusters of risk

The report identifies three clusters of risk: the world economy, suffering in the aftermath of the financial crisis and weakened by budget deficits and the cost of ageing populations; the illegal economy driven by corruption, organised crime, illicit trade and failed states; and the every growing demand for resources such as water, food and energy.

The authors, drawn from a global network of business and political leaders, try to map how a single problem in each cluster can quickly escalate and cause a wider crisis affecting other areas.

Robert Greenhill, chief business officer at the WEF, said that while it had taken months for the Wall Street crash of 1929 to affect the rest of the world, it took only minutes for the crash of 2008 to make an impact.

The report speaks of “rapid contagion through increasingly connected systems and the threat of disastrous impacts” on fragmented societies where economic imbalances undermine social cohesion.

With economies weakened by the global financial crisis and government budgets strained by the cost of supporting rapidly ageing populations, “both governments and societies are less able than ever to cope with global challenges,” both man-made and natural disasters.

The WEF report, one of the gloomiest in recent years, warns that while nationalism is on the rise, there is also a “growing divergence of opinion between countries on how to promote sustainable, inclusive growth”.

Hey, hey it's "Davos time" again! Image via Wikipedia Now, I do consider that I have a pretty well informed and balanced view of the world! If I didn’t believe that to be true I would not have the nerve to write this blog on as wide a range of topics – NO it’s not all about complexity! In case there are any doubters I suggest you read these words of wisdom. As you do, kindly refrain from thoughts of “oh no, he’s off again..” 2011 will be a decisive year. We will finally se … Read More

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