Video: Business lessons from quantum theory!!!
Friday, 13 January, 2012 1 Comment
At School I dropped science subjects in favour of the language of a fallen Empire (Rome) and Economics, so I didn’t have too much cause to think “things scientific” let alone Quantum Theory!
But, my journey into Complexity theory led me to broaden my reading (some may even call it research!) into System, Information and Chaos Theories. As well as a bit of Biology, Physics and Maths. I WOULD NEVE HAVE BELIEVED THAT IN A THOUSAND YEARS!!! Especially as the intention, when establishing Ontonix UK, was to identify how best our Quantitative Complexity Management solutions could be deployed to reduce risk, primarily, in insurance and the wider Financial sector!
The more closely I looked at subjects, that were relatively unknown to me, the greater my appreciation of those matters AND, through that, the more I understood (and questioned) things that were already known to me.
However, apart from my new found appetite for science, what startled me most was the realisation that, much of what has become “accepted practice” in the business environment is based upon (wrong) assumptions and the attitude that “there is little that we need to learn about business and risk management”…especially from science!
Such is the culture of an industry with little doubt about its own infallibility!!!!
It has been a long, slow, painful and (personally) costly journey toward “enlightenment” but that counts for little when, armed with all this great knowledge and ideas about how to improve “things”, your next challenge is to persuade business leaders that they can learn, potentially, game-changing business lessons from nature. As a result, I am constantly looking out for “stories” that can help me convey a message that, once understood, reveal their significance for our shared future.
So, when Academics translate concepts such as Quantum Theory into a language that is more widely understood, it is too good an opportunity to miss…
Over the Christmas period I watched this excellent “lecture” by Prof Brian Cox and, as he talked about the structure of a diamond, particles, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, waves, etc. I was, again, struck by the enormous complexity of life and the paradoxical “simplicity” of universal rules that can be expressed mathematically. It reminded me that, some time ago (in business), the complexity of our organisations surpassed the limits of ability to fully understand and manage them.
By developing technology and tools that enable us to look, in unprecedented detail, at the building blocks of our ourselves, the planet and universe we have answered some of the BIG questions and are so much closer to understanding others.
For too long the “economic domain” has been content with the rigid hierarchical structures of the industrial era, financially efficient processes and the search for familiar statistical patterns with which to try to model the future!!!
But THE LESSON that we need to learn is that this approach is dangerously inadequate in the “Digital Age”.
As Prof Cox explains, what makes a diamond so hard (and precious) is not the structure that we can see but the unseen “energy waves”. One cannot exist without the other: they are interdependent. Enormously useful, highly prized and when cut and polished, very pleasing on the eye but its value and true beauty lies within. It can be fully appreciated by employing the tools and techniques that enable examination at nano scale. Nature has made a structure that is only as complex as it needs for the particles to do their bit.
In the beginning was information…
Advancements across disciplines have come from developing the tools and techniques to facilitate investigation at smaller scales. The information that can help us has been there longer than we have but it is only now that we are able to access, decipher and apply…we CANNOT afford to waste more money attempting to model, forecast or predict our way to survival!