Atul Gawande:: Failure and Rescue – The New Yorker


Management of Complexity

Unless I’m very much mistaken this extract, from a truly inspiring piece of writing – from Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto – reinforces THE lessons we all need to learn:

"Practise without sound theory does not scale"

It is not sufficient to assume that the appearance of knowledge (including statistical correlations) at physical, conscious* or "superficial" level alone is a reliable basis for decision-making when dealing with high complexity.

“High complexity is incompatible with high precision” – this is known as L. Zadeh’s Principle of Incompatibility

Our (conscious*) cognitive ability is limited so, dealing with complexity, requires synthesis of brain and the sub-conscious mind (our experiential memory): Creative Intelligence – curiosity, cognition and intuition.

Vital systems, networks and sub-systems within complex systems can be invisible to conventional tools. To learn about them requires observation which drives innovation. Because decisions required to maintain the health (or resilience) of complex systems are often counterintuitive so require "deeper" observation e.g. MRI scan, insight and understanding of (causal) interconnectedness.

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