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!


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…

TALKING: they are giving freely of their time to express an opinion about what they already know (or if they didn’t really they do now!) is an important business issue. No action required. Thank you have a nice day.

LISTENING: they are the potential victim of an unscrupulous vendor of the latest technological cure-all for a “phenomena” that surely can’t really be as bad as KPMG (AT Kearney; IBM; McKinsey) were making out! Required to listen to how current methods aren’t adequate. Challenging “conventional wisdom”, and current belief systems. Action necessary expenditure required. I say BREAKTHROUGH technology but…

HEARING: what is heard by many top executives is “you’re stupid, wrong. Your organisation is out of touch and headed for a fall unless you pay me loads of money. I am laughing [nearly as hard as the staff in the “oh what’s the latest brilliant, expensive, gimmick to save the company at our expense”  club] at you as I disappear off to tell everyone how stupid you were whilst, that the risks are exaggerated and the technology doesn’t work!!!

Wrong, wrong wrong.

This is a further extract from the report and, EVEN THOUGH IT DOES NOT COVER ALL OF THE KEY ISSUES*, it certainly conveys the message that, when it comes to COMPLEXITY SOLUTIONS, it is not a case of unnecessary additional expenditure but about an investment in SURVIVAL, MITIGATING RISK, BEING BETTER and PREPARING FOR UNCERTAINTY.


I want to talk to these frightened and concerned captains of industry to reassure them that help is at hand. I want to tell them that there is a non-consultancy solution available to them. It is objective, quantitative, brings an insight into the business that cannot otherwise be gained: facilitates improved processes; manage assets and facilities within safe limits (extending lifetime); simplify management; *provides a single holistic “KPI”; extends the “risk horizon”; *measures business ecosystem stability & resilience to, such as, “systemic risk”; *identifies “structural weaknesses” (business, financial, supply chain); reduces uncertainty…

Another thing that many Exec’s fail to appreciate, despite the evidence of an, almost universal, loss of trust in banks, insurers and politics, is, that a lack of transparency – for whatever reason – adds unnecessary complexity that, as history has shown, eventually, turns negative.

We want to structure Complexity solutions that are, at very least, deliver WIN/WIN. Even better if they are WIN/WIN/WIN…I know this is unusual for a company whose products are unique but we ARE different as you will note from OUR MISSION. We are not about accumulating as much personal or corporate wealth as we can, as quickly as is possible.

As members of a truly Global civilization we recognise that there are much greater issues to be addressed just to undo some of the damage we have done over the last century and to secure our survival beyond the next!

3 Responses to Global Exec’s talk about complexity to KPMG

  1. There’s actually been a journal concerning complexity and business for the past 14 years (Emergence: Complexity & Organization – It’s great to see complexity going mainstream at last!

  2. Chris Howell says:

    Managing complexity typically stems from information overload. We have a tough time keeping our aviation safety management system ( dumbed down so the complexities can be explained easily.

    I like your graphs.

    • Thanks for the kind words Chris. I will check out your link.

      You are right re information being key but overload is only as dangerous as impaired [inaccurate, incomplete or irregular] information and operating structures that impede its flow within the system.

      Interesting you mention Aviation. You may find this Ontonix presentation relating to a, now operational, system, of interest:

      Our approach to complexity is born out of aviation, aerospace and automotive systems design.



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