Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties

No matter how you express it, in a dynamic (non-linear) system, that is, by definition complex, “what goes around comes around” – the “feedback loop” – complexity begets complexity until the system reaches breaking point – “critical complexity”.

But the closer the system operates to this point the more fragile and unstable it becomes.

Things can, do, get ugly, painful, dangerous and costly on a variety of levels and the impact is felt across domains.

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties Image by michael.heiss via Flickr A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time… Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first? Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy? Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact. Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “f … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

SEC “sick” fine joke: <1% of JP Morgan net income

coughs up

How long before American, British and other European citizens determine that “enough is enough”?

“Elites” do not only come in the form identified with the cause of the “Arab Spring”! By now it should be apparent to any informed person, that weak or biased leadership can be as dangerous to a nation’s health and wealth as an oppressive or brutal regime!

I never cease to be amazed how far removed from the sentiment of the populous Regulators and Governments can be.

JPMorgan Coughs Up $153.6 Million to Settle Mortgage Securities Civil Suit

JPMorgan Chase is paying $153.6 million to settle a civil case the Securities and Exchange Commission brought against them on charges that they defrauded investors regarding mortgage securities, Reuters reports. CBS News says that JP Morgan "failed to tell investors that a hedge fund helped select the investment portfolio and then bet that the portfolio would fail," according to the SEC.

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Dawning of the day of the contrarian: consumerism lies bleeding

The signs of a gathering momentum were there to be seen (for those prepared to look) even pre-crash and I am surprised that the pace had not, significantly, accelerated since 2008. I have long argued with the “price is king” lobby within my own industry that the flight to quality was inevitableimage (the pic on the left is taken from a presentation I did in 2005/6) and would spell an inglorious end for those whose “understanding” of delivering customer value extended to some glossy marketing literature, the “hard sell” with cover, service, satisfaction and reputation compromised to achieve a cheap price.

Not only have these firms come to believe their own marketing but, in the process they have contributed greatly to the decline of the industry that spawned them. Quite apart from the reputational damage, that an industry dealing in products that are a grudge purchase, can ill-afford there is a recognised fall in Professionalism (hence Aldermanbury Declaration) and the “dumbing down” of a generation of employees and customers. Read more of this post

What every leader needs to know…but can be too afraid to ask!

I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t terribly important that Business Leaders grasp what complexity is, as long as they “understand” and reap the rewards of managing it for the benefit of their stakeholders.

Whilst Academia indulge in “mental masturbation” and wrestling with competing definitions, the impact in the commercial world required a solution. That is what Ontonix have developed.

Check your ego at the door

Although a Business Leader doesn’t need to “totally get complexity” there is still a major challenge and that is to recognise that he/she doesn’t know as much as they would like to think they do! But it is the same for all of us,  to such an extent that it may be better to “unlearn” aspects of what has been accrued over many years…

Failed approaches Progress has made novices of us all!

Click on the picture for a fuller explanation of the problem:

Business knowledge and intuition come from experience. BUT, if that experience – like statistical risk data accumulated, in some instances, for centuries – relates to period that bears little or no resemblance to the current era it could be as much use as an A – Z for the wrong city!

Ontonix DON’T leave our clients to “get lost”. We provide, otherwise hidden (silo free), insight into the business structure, pin-point accuracy and a unique map, prepared from current (real-time if required) data: no assumptions; no models but a rigorously tested, 100% quantitative, means of interrogating data relevant to the system and its environment…


In modernity, technology has transformed the nature and pace of business, in some instances, way beyond the capability of conventional techniques. The frailties of making assumptions or relying upon the wrong analyses have cost this and future generations dear. Yet, still, many business decisions are judged upon the outcome rather than on the quality of the decision…



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The long and winding road to: Enlightenment? (via Stupor Complexus)

As “ringing” an endorsement as Ontonix could ask for…from one who knows:

“Starting to see light

The road will likely consist in abandoning the evocative but misleading epistemological debates, and focusing instead on useful techniques to tackle the growing non-linear distortion of the business world, as it happens in econophysics, leaving the reforms of the scientific paradigm to whomever should be concerned (tèkne tòn teknòn kai epistème tòn epistemòn…). On that road, I am particularly interested in two approaches which I came across in recent years.

One is Ontonix (a company in which I have no involvement but admiration for the genius of its founder, Jacek Marczyk), which has developed a holistic risk-monitoring software. What I like about Ontonix, despite a few humble methodological reservations of mine, is their pragmatism and quantitative orientation. Ontonix do not “talk” of complexity: they measure it, based on a conceptual framework in which it is seen as an intrinsic property of systems, like temperature or pressure. Physical quantities, says Ontonix, attain scientific dignity when they are measurable. Epistemological objections can be raised concerning the definition of complexity, as well as methodological ones related to the metrics. But who cares about the hair in the soup, if we are offered an inexpensive tool that can provide, with a surprisingly small organizational effort and a simple user interface, an assessment of the systemic risk of our business? I do recognize a breakthrough in Ontonix, the first measure ever of a company’s «stability rating».”

…a growing minority of business/managerial economists consider Taylorist scientific management (which has made it to the present day through various mutations and enrichments) as still plagued by extreme mechanism and unaware of the lessons coming from complexity science (deterministic chaos, emergent behavior): they therefore believe that it should be replaced with models inspired by non-linear dynamical systems, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, agent-based simulations and other modern “complex” tools.… Read More

via Stupor Complexus