Getting a handle on chaos and complexity
Thursday, 2 June, 2011 Leave a comment
This article, whilst written from a technology perspective, makes some very good points. But the reader needs to apply the simple logic of the factual statements and apply them to the environment in which they operate to actually understand the point. I know that sounds pretty obvious but I just want to make sure that the message isn’t dismissed because you don’t have a direct involvement or responsibility for IT, power plants or aircraft!
Rather than run the risk of insulting anyone’s intelligence any further I will merely point out that a business (system), department, team, division, etc. is part of a “networked environment”. so, “GO FIGURE”!
…in a networked environment, a minor difference in configuration could trigger a downstream failure that’s unpredictable and thus, unpreventable. These types of problems arise in virtually any complex environment (including nuclear power plants and airplanes in flight).
Interestingly, chaotic behavior often arises from very simple relationships. In other words, a complex system that is constructed of simple, deterministic building blocks can nonetheless display chaotic behavior. (Surprisingly, this mathematical conception of chaos was accurately captured in 1945 by the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who described it as, “Something simple yet not understood.”)