Dave Snowden:: anticipatory awareness – seizing opportunity avoiding threats
Wednesday, 11 April, 2012 Leave a comment
At Ontonix we talk about “crisis anticipation” but, I suppose, anticipatory awareness has a certain ring to it AND reflects the potential to identify both THREATS and OPPORTUNITIES…developing an informational advantage into a competitive advantage!
However, the most important thing is to recognise organisations for the, dynamic, COMPLEX SYSTEMS they have become. Attempts to manage performance and risk with tools and techniques that may have facilitated construction of “complicated machines” are dangerously inadequate…hence the increased need for an early warning mechanism.
I have watched this video several times to really make sure I could understand the implications for INSURANCE (risk assessment and rating) and RISK MANAGEMENT.
My conclusion: conventional practises can’t get close to identifying sources of emergent complexity or systemic risk without, near real-time capabilities.
Of course that is what we, at Ontonix, have been saying and providing for over 5 years now!
Dave refers, in his presentation, to the need to move from attempting – and failing – to create “fail-safe” systems and I was reminded of a parable from Herbert Simon that I had occasion to refer to recently in another blog. It is worthy of repetition to reinforce a fundamental message for the benefit of aspiring ‘risk leaders’…
There once was two watchmakers, named Hora and Tempus, who manufactured very fine watches. Both of them were highly regarded, and the phones in their workshops rang frequently. New customers were constantly calling them. However, Hora prospered while Tempus became poorer and poorer and finally lost his shop. What was the reason?
The watches the men made consisted of about 1000 parts each. Tempus had so constructed his that if he had one partially assembled and had to put it down– to answer the phone, say–it immediately fell to pieces and had to be reassembled from the elements. The better the customers liked his watches the more they phoned him and the more difficult it became for him to find enough uninterrupted time to finish a watch,
The watches Hora handled were no less complex than those of Tempus, but he had designed them so that he could put together sub-assemblies of about ten elements each. Ten of these subassemblies, again, could be put together into a larger subassembly and a system of ten of the latter constituted the whole watch. Hence, when Hora had to put down a partly assembled watch in order to answer the phone, he lost only a small part of his work, and he assembled his watches in only a fraction of the man-hours it took Tempus.