The complexity of influence is a challenge – and an opportunity | Guardian Professional

Influence is complex, and I mean that in the full “complexity science” sense of the word. Complexity is the phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects. The interacting objects could be molecules of air and the phenomenon the weather. It could be vehicles and the phenomenon the traffic.

Human objects could be the population of Cairo, the 99%, sports fans in a sports stadium, people who like photos of cats, your customers, or your employees; in fact, any collection of people interacting with each other, influencing each other.

A characteristic of complexity is that studying the individual rarely betrays anything about the phenomena. You can’t learn much about the termite mound by studying the individual termite, or the traffic jam by studying the car.

via The complexity of influence is a challenge – and an opportunity | Media network | Guardian Professional.

Ontonix:: how much globalisation can the World afford?

макет вращающейся планеты Земля, формат - &quo...

Image via Wikipedia

How much globalisation can the World digest? Have we reached the limit? What is the limit, if any? Is globalisation piloted and induced, or is it just a spontaneous and inevitable result of economic (and human) development? These are not easy questions to tackle. However, with the aid of complexity – which is a meta-KPI combining a multitude of conventional indicators into a single scalar measure – we can gain insight into the dynamics of globalisation. Based on data from the World Bank, we have measured and analysed the evolution of complexity of the World as a system. The analysis (see the end of this blog for a complete list of parameters) has embraced 600+ parameters, spanning the period 1970-2010 and covering the following facets of our global society:

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Fragile or Agile?:: the Law of Requisite Variety [Ashby’s Law]

The Law of Requisite Variety

I am sorry to say that I don’t know too many leaders who have acted or are prepared to act to create agile, service-orientated systems “because of the economy”! That is why operations, whose owners fail to adapt to a changed environment become UNSUSTAINABLE &FRAGILE.

Voilà! VOLATILITY & UNCERTAINTY…what better reasons to build-in resilience???

“Controlling the environment” is a pretty tall order, so I prefer to focus upon tasks us mere mortals can tackle. For example, tackling systems built to manage people, their “ambiguous” strategies and the culture that it spawned. These add complexity that impairs the effectiveness of the business to perform the functions for which it was created. Aligning the digital structure of the business to the “effective information-flow” in its sub- systems and ecosystem, creates a responsive, adaptable, business that can work to attain the “requisite variety” to regulate the system. Result: RESILIENT & SUSTAINABLE

Since customer needs come in all shapes and sizes, variety is a fact of life in any service business.

The Law of Requisite Variety, also known as Ashby’s Law, for the neuroscientist who first formulated it, says that any control system must be capable of a number of possible states that is greater than or equal to the number of states in the system to be controlled*.

In other words, if there is variety in the environment you need enough variety in your system to absorb it effectively. Think of a juggler: no matter how skilled the juggler, there will always be a point where there are too many possible states for the juggler’s mind and hands to maintain control.

There are two ways to deal with variety. You can reduce variety by standardising inputs and controlling the environment as much as possible, or you can design a system that’s capable of absorbing more variety.

UK Gov. report:: high impact, low probability events

With thanks to Dave Marsay for his insightful analysis and comments

Risks arise in the world, so our view of the world affects our view of risks. If a risk is ‘really’ such a low probability then it seems reasonable not to let it dictate our lives. The real risk is from risks that are under-appreciated. For example, natural risks are often thought of as natural, but what is of concern is not so much the once in a century event that happens about once every hundred years but the one that happens more often. A natural disaster is possibly just bad luck, but more often its ‘likelihood’ or impact had been underestimated. Part of the problem is risk management itself. After a flood the risk of subsequent flooding is appreciated and drains are kept clear, but after a period without flood . we ’learn’ that floods are unlikely, the perception of risk reduces and drains can remain blocked. The risk of flooding increases. More generally, we manage our lives according to our perception of risk, thus there is a reflexive relationship: a risk is only a serious risk if it is under-appreciated. Thus the inherently challenging risks are those that are invisible, obscure, complex, confused or otherwise outside our management approach. Perhaps we should rise to the challenge?image

“With sufficient knowledge and informed judgement uncertainty can be characterised statistically. It follows that strategic surprises arise from lack of knowledge or the inability to perceive the consequences of what is known”

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Why Your Employees Don’t Care About Your Business Strategy

In my experience, most employees want to engage with their company by getting involved in strategy creation and execution – they really do care about the work of their company and they want it to be successful. The problem is there are just too many obstacles getting in the way.

How can business leaders increase employee engagement with their company’s business strategy?

(1) Ensure that employees have the opportunity, and are actually able, to participate in meaningful ways in the creation, execution, and management of your business strategy,

(2) Translate your business strategy into action via a strategy map and use it to tell your strategy story and engage employees further with your strategy and what it really means, and

(3) Use your strategy map to help employees see how their work contributes both directly (via business processes and strategic initiatives), and indirectly, to strategy execution success.      


In the end, it’s important to get your employees involved and engaged with your company and business strategy because, regardless of which business sector or industry you are in, high levels of employee engagement are good for your customers and stakeholders, your employees, and, ultimately, your business. 

via Why Your Employees Don’t Care About Your Business Strategy – SFO Blog – Helping You Build Your Company into a Strategy Focused Organization.